Thu
Feb 23 2012 1:00pm

Rothfuss Reread: The Wise Man’s Fear, Part 20: You Wouldn’t Have a Hope

Welcome to my ridiculously detailed reread of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. This week’s post covers chapters 104-108 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 104 is “Returning”

To the 4C world. (I wrote “the real world” and then changed it.)

And we’re straight back into the story again, frame absolutely closed, no hesitation or drawing breath, but we’re still with what we were just talking about — how long it took Kvothe to recover from meeting the CTH. He says “it was a long time before I was my right self again”. This is an interesting way of putting it.

He has terrible dreams, and Felurian sucks at mothering him the way Auri did that time. Kvothe reports her odd behaviour, and ends “she was trying to comfort me and she didn’t have the slightest idea how.”

How long has it been since Felurian was with somebody who wasn’t totally focused on her, I wonder? Does she meet other Fae, or just mortal men? There are no servants, who bakes the bread, and what is her everyday life like? (How? How? I bet we never find out either.) She brings him weird fruit and tiny birds that sing in harmony, a drink like sunlight, and a red stone that hatches into a squirrel, a ring made from a leaf, a cluster of golden berries, a flower that opened and closed at the stroking of a finger. What this reminds me of is my son bringing me things to try to cure a migraine when he was about three. Another time Kvothe woke and found her sobbing. He describes it as “the gentle song of her sobbing”. Is everything a song to him, or is he Naming that?

When he recovers enough to flirt:

her relief was palpable, as if she couldn’t relate to a creature that did not want to kiss her.

How did she get like that? I mean, she was born, yes? She was prepubescent once? She was sitting on a wall in Murella eating silver fruit... She’s so much like a man’s erotic dream — could it be a curse? But she’s proud of it, of the legend anyway.

They make love on the finished shaed.

Kvothe is ready to leave, the CTH’s words goading him on. Felurian lets him go, even leads him out by a pair of greystones. She covers his eyes with the hood of his shaed, leads him in a circle and they are in the 4C world. He promises to return, and is sorry to have no gift to give her, he’s sad to see her alone but manages to leave, looking back.

This seems like a good time to consider what this episode is doing here. It’s got all the sex, and sexual initiation, it combines that with an initiation into Fae and lots of information about the two worlds, the moon, the Chandrian and the Amyr. There’s probably more flat out actual information about the world and the larger plot in this section than anywhere else. It’s far from gratuitous, but it’s definitely an interruption in the pattern of the story so far, and definitely a discrete episode. It answers some questions, it opens up other huge areas of uncertainty, and it would be a very different book without it.

 

Chapter 105 is “Fire”

The fire of red hair.

Kvothe arrives at the Pennysworth after nightfall, and he’s worried because it’s quiet. He’s afraid he has been gone for years, or decades — but no, Marten is at the hearth telling them about Felurian. Marten says the spell was broken when Kvothe got between him and Felurian. Tempi said he is trained to have control over his desires, but he would have gone if Kvothe hadn’t. (Can you imagine the two of them? Athletic sex until heart failure for sure, because what could they have talked about?) Hespe broke Dedan’s arm, and now they are together, huzzah.

Kvothe enters on his cue, his ruined old cloak. “I have found a better cloak since.”

The mortal world seems strange to him. It’s only been three days for them, but it has been “a long long while” for him. He finds it hard to adjust for a moment, and so he laughs, because everything about the tavern and the people seems contrived and ridiculous. This feeling doesn’t last — it doesn’t last any time at all, really. There’s no other mention of him feeling uncomfortable in his boots. I feel uncomfortable in my winter boots for weeks at the beginning of winter and I notice every time I put them on, so that detail really felt real — but it’s never mentioned again.

The hawk-faced fiddler doesn’t believe a word of his story — and who would!  Dedan gets angry — because Dedan saw Felurian and also can see Kvothe’s beard to know he has been gone a long time. Dedan swears it’s true by his good right hand. The fiddler calls him a liar, and the room is with him. They’re about to fight, but the innkeeper intervenes as Kvothe is ready to take Dedan’s place. The innkeeper feels his shaed, and recognises him as “Losi’s boy” — Losi is the red haired girl he failed to flirt with when they were here before. This time he smiles at her, and she believes the story.

Losi asks if Felurian was more beautiful than her, and Kvothe says she was, then whispers “seven words” — “for all that, she lacked your fire”. I guess he’s been practicing empty compliments. But even so, explicitly and deliberately doing “seven words to make a woman love you” to somebody who has only been nice to you and for whom you have no long term intentions seems like really bad behaviour. He says “she loved me and her pride was safe” but what about the next fifty years of poor Losi’s life? This is the most immoral thing Kvothe has ever done, and he doesn’t even have a qualm of conscience about it now.

He tells a story about Felurian. He doesn’t sing his song. He tells the story they expect. “It had some truth mixed in”.

Then he goes to bed with Losi, and he describes the sex as just as good as Felurian:

Sometimes a man enjoys a symphony. Elsetimes he finds a jig more suited to his taste... Each woman is like an instrument, waiting to be learned, loved, and finely played, to have at last her own true music made.

It has never occurred to Kvothe to think about it from the woman’s point of view. The woman’s the instrument and he’s the performer, right. Not like they’re real people who could evoke the true music of him. Except maybe D, eh? Well, if so it will serve him right.

Also, what about contraception? I believe they have chemical and/or magical contraception at the University, but out here? Does it even cross his mind? It does not. Sex without any consequences for Kvothe, and Kvothe is all Kvothe cares about.

 

Chapter 106 is “Quick

They spend a few days at the Pennysworth healing up and resting. And Kvothe takes up where he left off, no longer feeling weird in his boots or laughing or finding anything odd — he teaches Tempi the lute and Tempi carries on teaching him the Ketan. And he writes a song about Felurian “The Song Half Sung.” Is this the song he promised, or not?

He tells more stories about his life — how he got into University at fifteen, how he gained entry to the Arcanum, how he called the name of the wind at Ambrose. Then he starts making things up...

He’s glad to leave:

Between Tempi’s training and Losi’s attentions I was nearly dead from exhaustion.

And he’s made the poor girl love him and abandoned her, and he’s still joking about her.

They move slowly back towards Severen. They meet some performers, not Edema Ruh — this may be significant. He trades them his Felurian song for a new verse of Tinker, Tanner. They trade gossip — Alveron’s getting married to Meluan. Mention of Lackless causes the boy to sing a Lackless rhyme he knows, which we have discussed before in detail. It’s different from the one Kvothe sang that upset his mother, but has similarities. Kvothe gives the troupe a silver noble to buy a new bear, saying troupers have to look out for each other because nobody else will.

His Felurian-feyness is completely worn off and forgotten, we’re in “on to the next thing” mode.

Tempi and Kvothe discuss the Lethani and practice Ketan. They are caught by some other Adem, who argue with Tempi. He’s in trouble for teaching Kvothe. He has to go back to Haert. Kvothe offers to go with him, both to help Tempi and because the CTH told him he’d be able to learn more about the Chandrian over the Stormwal. So going to the Adem is directly because of the influence of the CTH. Maybe if he hadn’t gone, everything would have been different?

All four of the Adem mercenaries they meet are female. So we have a gender ratio of 4:1.

 

Chapter 107 is “Spinning Leaf”

His mind-technique.

Kvothe starts off here by saying he wanted to get back to Severen and the Maer’s favour, he wanted to find D, but he heads off to the Adem anyway. He holds on to the cashbox and sends Dedan and the others off with a letter of explanation.

Tempi explains that he was supposed to get permission before taking a student, and also barbarians shouldn’t be taught at all. He will be exiled if it is decided that he was wrong. Kvothe thinks this isn’t as bad as death, but for Tempi it is worse.

We’ve been slowly having little bits of Adem information as we go along, but at this point we really haven’t been told much at all. And it’s the same for Kvothe, he’s heading off over the Stormwal, a huge distance, hundreds of miles from the Eld, through Modeg or through the mountains, while knowing very little about where he’s going or why he’s going.

It’s a fifteen day trip, and Kvothe agrees to put himself in Tempi’s hands so he can make a good impression when he gets there. The first thing is to put his shaed away....

They stretch, they run for an hour, they do the Ketan, the walk, they stop and discuss the Lethani in Ademic, then repeat. Tempi tells him to discuss the Lethani with his stomach — which is where he has said laughter comes from. Kvothe manages this much better when he’s exhausted and not trying. After Kvothe collapses from exhaustion, Tempi tells him to use fewer words and more implications.

They have a proper rest, but Kvothe figures out how to reach the frame of mind he was in when delirious with exhaustion and calls it “spinning leaf.” It’s clearly another mind trick like “heart of stone” but a different kind of one — “the mental equivalent of a card trick”. Because Kvothe can’t see it as useful for anything. He’s amazingly pragmatic when you think about it — everything for something, and everything for his purpose.

Tempi adds sparring to the cycle, and they’re doing fifteen hours a day of working and travelling. Tempi tells Kvothe that taking pleasure in fighting is not of the Lethani, though it is okay to take pleasure in doing the thing well.

 

Chapter 108 is “Beauty and Branch”

“The countryside was a blur” and Kvothe does not even tell us how they went, through Modeg or what? Was there a language problem? We don’t know. They did three hundred miles in fifteen days. That’s really impressive.

Haert strikes Kvothe as strange because the houses are built into the hillside, because of storms. Kvothe is left to wait outside low stone buildings. He sees an woman and a boy (5:2). It’s peaceful and quiet. He looks at the dry stone wall, and is asked by a woman what he thinks of it. (6:2). They have a discussion of beauty and utility, in which she mentions her hat was made by her daughter’s daughter. (8:2). She summons a boy (8:3) who goes inside with Kvothe’s things, and she takes him for a walk. Kvothe spots another boy with a herd of sheep (8:4) as they go down into a valley. She shows him the sword-tree, the Latantha. She asks if he knows the Ketan, and he asks if she is Shehyn, and of course she is. They discuss the red clothes of the Adem “so their enemies won’t see them bleed” and Shehyn’s white “she should see it as her fair reward” — the assumption of female as the default norm, just as we have male as ours.

They spar, and of course he can’t come near her, he weeps because she is beautiful moving perfectly, and she throws him. Then she teaches him for a few moments, and they go back to the school.

(Adem gender ratio: eight female seen or mentioned, four male seen or mentioned. That’s twice as many female as male, which is more women than predicted by my man-mother parthenogenesis theory which would expect 65%. It may be a crazy theory, but I’m collecting the evidence.)

And we’ll start next time from 109 and Carceret and right on into the whole Adem thing.

Don’t miss the comments on the last two weeks posts, everyone has been absolutely on fire.


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.

152 comments
images10dream
1. images10dream
I wonder if Kvothe's taking advantage of Loni has to do with the fact that he is fresh out of Fae, and somewhat Fae-ish, more specifically, Felurian-ish himself. It seems like something Felurian would do to a man.

Or maybe I am just trying to rationalize what seems to be a pretty cruel action.
thistle pong
2. thistlepong
Jo, your summary of "Fire" was joy to read.
Losi asks if Felurian was more beautiful than her, and Kvothe says she was, then whispers “seven words” — “for all that, she lacked your fire”. I guess he’s been practicing empty compliments. But even so, explicitly and deliberately doing “seven words to make a woman love you” to somebody who has only been nice to you and for whom you have no long term intentions seems like really bad behaviour. He says “she loved me and her pride was safe” but what about the next fifty years of poor Losi’s life? This is the most immoral thing Kvothe has ever done, and he doesn’t even have a qualm of conscience about it now.
Through multiple reads it passed before my eyes unanalyzed. Thanks for bringing it forward.

Since the troupe massacre, we haven't seen a single Ruh, jave we?
andrew smith
3. sillyslovene
This strikes me as odd:
"Tempi said he is trained to have control over his desires, but he would have gone if Kvothe hadn’t." - because from what we will see in Adem, yes there is a lot of control instilled in them in a lot of areas- but not seemingly with regard to sexuality, and isn't the pull of the men described as purely sexual towards Felurian? If normal Adem society is what K describes, with his teacher having sex with him simply because she notices that he is aroused- how, how, does Tempi have any type of resistance to Felurian? Does the Lethani not apply in sexuality?

Now there is the option that K's teacher, because she knows of the outside world/he is so young, is indulging him. But that doesn't seem to be the case...

This might also be something that PR is doing to contrast Fae with the Adem- making them similar in certain ways, but absolutely different in others- similar to the Human/Fae distinction.

I also agree that K's now blatant sexuality is extraordinarily bound for bad things, if not, then I will be very disappointed because the clues are there that this will lead him down the primrose path... It is the latest (probably not the last) instance of K absolutely not caring, not wise at all, with his moral choices or his actions in general- he is selfish to the point of self-destruction, without even realizing it. As Jo points out, his behavior with Losi is reprehensible, and I fear that it will continue- in the frame story, he doesn't seem to have any qualms about Bast's sexual "conquests" in the little village, he even jokes about them- something, which if it came to light, could have major consequences for him and his inn...
images10dream
4. wcarter4
Not to exuse Kvothe's 'use them then lose them' mentalitiy he's picked up towards women, but from what Dedan told Kvothe the first time they went through there, Losi was far from an innocent maiden.
I recall him saying something along the lines of her not being a prostitute, but also of a mind to bed a man she takes an interest in. Also, she propositioned him the first time they met--no way she was in love him at the time, she didn't know the first thing about him.
Again, that in no way excuses his narcissim and attitude towards women from this point out, but he wasn't exactly taking advantage of an impressionable young girl.
George Brell
5. gbrell
How did she get like that? I mean, she was born, yes? She was prepubescent once? She was sitting on a wall in Murella eating silver fruit... She’s so much like a man’s erotic dream — could it be a curse? But she’s proud of it, of the legend anyway.

Someone suggested a couple posts ago that perhaps the Fae's power (indeed, their very being) arises from the same source as knacks. This has also been a theory for what the Chandrian's signs are (though that suggestion was that the "curse" on them caused their knacks to go into overdrive). Perhaps Felurian was once possessed of a knack that made her attractive and that knack not only became more powerful, but it, in turn, changed Felurian herself.

It answers some questions, it opens up other huge areas of uncertainty, and it would be a very different book without it.

While this is certainly true, it's also a very natural, Freudian step for the book to take since it ties Kvothe's sexual awakening into his broader awakening into adulthood.

I wish more books crafted infodumps as well as this.

Athletic sex until heart failure for sure, because what could they have talked about?

Until just now, I've always assumed that Felurian can speak every language. But now I have a different point to make.

I found it odd that Felurian spoke the common tongue (with her own distinctive style), since logically she would have learned the ancient precursor to Tema/Temic rather than the vernacular of Kvothe's day. She might have learned bits and pieces from her conquests over the years, but it's doubtful she would have attained mastery over both the current language and maintained her curious diction (why doesn't she start to emulate the bumpkins she runs across?).

Have we ever considered the idea that it's not Felurian who's demonstrating mastery of language, but Kvothe? His sleeping mind wakes during this episode. If we think of the sleeping mind as the ultimate intuitive understanding, shouldn't someone with a fully woken mind intuitively understand languages?

Admittedly, he fails to comprehend Faen, but perhaps he was trying to approach that language with his waking mind. Or he had no foundation to build upon unlike his prior learning of common, Temic and Tema which would provide his sleeping mind with fertile ground for intuitive leaps.

But even so, explicitly and deliberately doing “seven words to make a woman love you” to somebody who has only been nice to you and for whom you have no long term intentions seems like really bad behaviour. He says “she loved me and her pride was safe” but what about the next fifty years of poor Losi’s life?

I never read that as pining-away-until-you-die love. While I am displaying a bit of temerity by discussing love with a group that is probably older than I am, the seven words never struck me as a love potion. I think one can love someone for an evening and then have that feeling fade the next day. Notice that he uses seven words on Denna over and over. And yet she remains reticent. This isn't magic.

What Kvothe is doing is no more immoral than any other man picking up a woman at a bar, he just happens to be really good at it.

It has never occurred to Kvothe to think about it from the woman’s point of view. The woman’s the instrument and he’s the performer, right. Not like they’re real people who could evoke the true music of him. Except maybe D, eh? Well, if so it will serve him right.

I can read the passages you're referring to and decide that Rothfuss/Kvothe is a sexist pig. I can read those passages and think simply that Kvothe is self-centered. Or I can read those passages and decide that Kvothe describes everything in relation to his own experiences (as do we all) and see that he's comparing love/lust to the activity most central to his being, his music.

I think making straw men can be fun, but I think that discussion is generally better-served by giving authors' a bit of leeway.

Then again, when we get to Fela's observations, I'm sure this will start all over again.

Also, what about contraception? I believe they have chemical and/or magical contraception at the University, but out here? Does it even cross his mind? It does not. Sex without any consequences for Kvothe, and Kvothe is all Kvothe cares about.

He mentions during the Ademre episode that he chews an herb that acts as a contraceptive. Ignoring the ridiculousness of this conceit (similar problem in the Wheel of Time), widespread availability of a universal contraceptive would likely lead to significantly lower concerns regarding sex.

Also, this could still be Felurian rubbing off on him.

“The Song Half Sung.” Is this the song he promised, or not?

I don't think it is, mainly because he disclaims its quality (not "my best work, but it was easy to remember"), which seems at odds with his ability to hold Felurian hostage with the song.
images10dream
6. AhoyMatey
I did find the 15 hours a day running and training to be pretty implausible. I did karate for 14 years, and martial art training is intense. Never mind running 20 miles a day on top of that. That’s almost a marathon a day. I find that highly unlikely :)
images10dream
7. AhoyMatey
As far as Losi was concerned, I agree that it was among consenting adults. It's not like K bespelled her. As callous as he seems to be...
images10dream
8. Okra
I'm extremely surprised at the backlash I'm seeing in regards to Kvothe having sex with Losi. Reprehensible, cruel, immoral, taking advantage of her? Are you assuming that he compelled her with the seven words? This is the girl who actively tried to seduce him on their first trip through this tavern, right? Kvothe responding with the seven words, to me, felt more like him having the confidence to flirt back to her and less using magic to facilitate sexual assault. And ruining her for the rest of her life? This is the same girl who obviously has had sex before, but did that ruin her? And why can't I stop asking rhetorical questions?

Kvothe addresses birth control in Ademre when he speaks about eating some random root to prevent conception even though we've never seen it mentioned in the narrative. I put it on equal terms with something like basic bodily functions. Not spelled out for us, but assumed. It seemed like that was PRs way of saying, "no Kvothe babies are happening".

Maybe this is all coming from my male perspective. All of Kvothe's promiscuity always seemed more about him being 17 and realizing that sex is fun. Selfish maybe, but not actively hurtful.
Julia Mason
9. DrFood
Ah, you beat me to it. (I'm so slow, multiple somebodies have beaten me to this) I agree, the only way to see Losi as a victim is to project weakness on her. Here's what Dedan told Kvothe after she blew his mind by making a pass at him:
She's a lusty little one. She'll trip a man who catches her eye but she can't be talked or bought into bed. If she could, she'd be rich as the king of Vint.
There seems to be better access to contraception in the 4C world than in the earth equivalent (pre-1965). When he has the "man mother" argument with Penthe, he tells her that he takes something every day (he chews an herbcalled silphium) to keep from becoming a father (this reminds me of a 16 year old boy with a condom in his wallet--ever hopeful!). I don't recall any descriptions of peasant families with 5+ kids. The poor young couple in the frame story have two, and there seems to be more than a year between them.

Losi is a player, and she's happy with her life, as far as we know. She's not a virginal maiden whose heart gets broken by the mysterious traveller.
Julia Mason
10. DrFood
With regards to the ratio of male to female Adem characters, I see the whole Adem society as one of those cool things you can do with speculative fiction. What if women had the upper hand, physically? What if women could not be intimidated by men's greater size and strength? How would that change, well, everything?

I have a more prosaic etiology for the low fertility rate of Adem women, having mostly to do with their very low body fat levels. I don't think you have to conjure up non-human reproduction strategies. . .
images10dream
11. Zizoz
Silphium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silphium) is or was an actual plant which was used in antiquity as a contraceptive. It's generally believed to be an extinct plant of the genus Ferula.
images10dream
12. jmd
Just 2 quick things -

Note Dedan swears by his "good right hand" - another reference to hands and possibly loss if you are forsworn?

And secondly, what makes you think Felurian was born? And had an adolescence? Do we know how Fae are created? Is she closer to a spirit? Did she come forth full grown but "young" in her power? Given her tempetuosity and frustrations she seems like she has never learned anything about true interactions and may forever be stuck in herself. Kvothe was able to sing her name and grok her completely - has he renamed her? Is she elementally what she is and cannot change?
Steven Halter
13. stevenhalter
The time Kvothe spends recovering from Cthaeh is indeed interesting. It seems a bit like the time he spent in the forest after the troupe is destroyed. From that episode and the time he spent in Tarbean it is obvious that Kvothe isn't very good at judging what being in his "right self" really is.
I would say that in addition to speaking just the right words to Kvothe it is quite likely that the Cthaeh has done some more tampering along the lines of what Haliax did. (Or it could be that the Cthaeh has removed some tampering from someone else and this allows his past to come back up.)
Kvothe has terrible dreams--mostly of his mother, father and the troupe. He slips in and out of sleep in an essentially fevered manner.
Felurian gets him back on his feet but doesn't remove the underlying cause of his problems. He really ought to have gone back to the Maer and found D but he doesn't really even give it a thought.
Steven Halter
14. stevenhalter
I'm voting on the side of the parthenogenesis theory for two reasons. 1) The Adem don't seem dense enough not to have worked out how their reproduction works and so I am inclined to take their word on it. 2) It is a way cool piece of the story if that is how it works and another implication that there are lots of things going on in the depths of 4C history that we don't understand.
Katy Maziarz
15. ArtfulMagpie
As a not-unexperienced woman myself, I'm going to have to agree with those saying that Kvothe didn't really take advantage of Losi--he simply found the confidence to pursue an attraction between them that was clearly mutual, since she was the one who approached him initially. And it is certainly possible to "love" a young, handsome, charming man for a night or a week and not be ruined and pining for life. Not all love is the forever kind of love--sometimes it's enough to just love someone for the night. That's how I always read the Losi section--she loved him for comparing her favorably to Felurian, and she will love the next charming man to come through town as well.

Someone suggested a couple posts ago that perhaps the Fae's power (indeed, their very being) arises from the same source as knacks.

The Fae magic = knack thing was my theory, actually. I should think that Felurian, yes, had a magical knack for attracting men--because she is trained, because she has lived for eons in a place of pure magic, that "knack" has become an integral part of her being. But true emotion in the human sense is not something she is familiar with--thus the giving of small gifts to try and comfort her sweet poet, rather than any sort of true comfort such as Auri could provide.
Katy Maziarz
16. ArtfulMagpie
Silphium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silphium) is or was an actual plant which was used in antiquity as a contraceptive. It's generally believed to be an extinct plant of the genus Ferula.

Whoa...genus FERULA? Shades of Chandrian...! Probably just a coincidence, but funny!
images10dream
17. JohnPoint
Hi all --

I'm new here -- just discovered the blog a few days ago, but have been a fan of Pat's work for years (went to college with him...)

I was going to point out the silphium connection, but see that someone beat me to it (and indicated the possible connection between its genus, Ferula and Cinder...). Anyway, there is also an Indonesian plant (gandarusa, genus Justica) that is being examined as a male contraceptive. It's traditionally used as a medicine, as well as being chewed as a male contraceptive, so the idea isn't without precedent.

I also have a theory about the Lackless box that I havne't seen mentioned in the comments (though I haven't read everything, so someone might have already proposed this.) Perhaps I should wait until we get to that section of the book, but I'd like to mention it now, and we can hash it out later:

I think that the Lackless box contains the stone that Selitos used to "poke out his eye." In NotW, it is first described as a piece of mountain glass (when Selitos first picks it up), then several times as a stone. He then pierces his eye, and binds Haliax "by my blood." (I don't have copies of the books with me, so I can't give the exact references.)

Then, in WMF, when he examines the Lackless box, he first thinks that the box contains something metallic, but then revises his guess to something "glass, or perhaps stone."

What if the stone that Selitos used to remove his eye (and then allowed him to bind and curse Haliax), is contained in the box? Since the box appears to contain copper in the wood, it may contain naming/shaping/other magic. The continued existence of the stone (with Selitos' blood) could perhaps prevent Haliax et al. from breaking their curse. Perhaps the Lacklesses are descended from Selitos? That could explain the various rock/blood/etc. references.

Additionally, the fact that their line (and thus Selitos' bloodine) is still in existence could be an additional part of why the Chandrian can't accomplish their ultimate goals etc.

Thoughts?
Rob Munnelly
18. RobMRobM
Jo - I had no problem with the Losi episode for the reasons discussed by many above - she originally picked him to sleep with, he was going to be gone in a day or so in any event, and the seven words (to me) is a poetical way to make a woman love you rather than a magical one. He may be self-centered but if I were in his shoes so would I. I'm not seeing a fundamental character flaw here. His womanizing later on back at Uni raises a different set of issues, of course.

We don't know F is born, just as we don't know whether Lanre, Selitos, Cinder or other centuries old creatures are born. She predated the creation of Fae, so the rules applicable to Bast may not be applicable to her.

Rob
images10dream
19. Dominiquex
I always thought Elodin's "do you know the seven words to make a woman love you?" (paraphrasing) question way back when was aimed more at testing Kvothe's life experience than implying actual spells. And the "seven" part of that being more a peotic phrase than literal - seven has a nice balance to the human mind. So I've always taken these moments of Kvothe using seven word phrases with women as a nice poetic touch of Rothfuss' rather than bespelling women right and left. Also, there's some ambiguity in the women "love"ing you part - the word could reference causing the emotions of love, or could be used as a euphamism for sex (ie, making love). Part of the poetic beauty of the statement I think is that it could mean any or all of these implications. And the knowledge of this comes from life experience.

About Felurian's development or lack thereof, I always pictured her coming into being fully formed, but that's more of a poetic impression than substantiated I think. But I would argue that even if Felurian was at some point in the far, pre-human past, born and went through some kind of infancy/childhood/development, spending the last several eons as a fae living for her own amusement in a twilight forest would probably be enough to make any sufficiently self-absorbed being loose their ability to empathize and comfort those she meets.
Ashley Fox
20. A Fox
Im glad fok from Gbrell onwards starting disputing the stance Jo set up concerning K's relations with Losi.

I was quite surprised by this attitude. Love is not finite, to be jealously guarded or wasted. Love does not mean in love, or besotted. Losi saw K for who he truely was and the way she was reflected in him, and loved that. He did not steal her heart, but shared a part of it. Like a really good sunset, or the small of a baby, or running through the woods. You can love these things, remember them fondly, but you dont pine for them the rest of your life.

She is cleary portrayed as a strong woman, in control of her sexuality. A woman like that knows how to use contraceptive. And K woud know that she knows, as well as that he was also taking contraceptive (though whether it was still in his system after faen...).

I dont agree that this is a sign of bad K. Yes there was a little dumbness about the contraceptive, but security is implied and truthfully he may know every sexual move under the moon, but he is inexperianced with mortal encounters. And it woud have broken up the narrative flow to have this explained here. Enough is infered.

I think this shows Ks potential to be good. He is at the top of his game theatrically, he has just done something as legendary as Tarbolin, the star of power, a shaed and then he shares love rather than letting the bar erupt in a brawl.

Knacks. I rember this discussion. Im sti holding to a slightly different perspective. That once all were powerful, then the seperate species emerged. When the Moon was caught between two worlds there seemed to be a massive shift in power. It mostly went into Faen, leaving the 4c's with the dregs. I belive knacks are a reflection of this. Knacks are small bits of magic left in humans, whilst the Fae seem to be full of it. Or that knacks come from ancesters that have interbred with Fae or the older folk.

As opposed to knacks being the origins.
Ian B
21. Greyfalconway
JohnPoint @17

That makes alot of sense, thanks for posting! And perhaps those stones master kilvin had are a sort of - not foreshadowing exactly - but setup to the magic rock/glass in the lackless box later, so we know different magical stones without recognizable sympathetic principles are a thing, and it won't come off as deus ex machina when its revealed in book 3
Ian B
22. Greyfalconway
Another thought, slightly crazier;

The rock/glass in the box that Selitos used to stab his eye/bind Haliax could be a mommet of Haliax, or maybe just what Selitos used his strong naming/sympathy mix to make his link and bind him with, and he needed his blood/eye yuck as a strong link enhancement. This throws me into wild directions of Selitos possibly inventing sympathy off of a form of scientific pinning-down of naming
Bruce Wilson
23. Aesculapius
Silphium...?! Ferula...?! Hmmmmmm. Interesting!

Given that the Latin word ferula refers to a staff derived from the stems of plants of these species, this makes me wonder again about the whole "stick by the Maer" comment by the Cthaeh.

Now, having said that, just because a word has a particular meaning in a real world language (extant or otherwise...!) it doesn't necessarily follow that PR has to continue to use that meaning for a word (or name!) within his own fictional universe.

@17:
Like it! A lot! I definitely get the feeling that there are some distinct inheritance issues to be tied up relating to K, the Leoclos history, the contents of the Lockless Box and, potentially, some key events of both the Creation War and the current War. Selitos, however, hadn't popped up on my radar as a potential candidate - I had rather been favouring Lyra and Lanre, probably because they were the husband and wife team placed in the foreground of the ancient stories and so naturally I figured they could be the the backstory behind the original Lady Lackless and the husband referred to in the rhyme. Hmmmmm. Selitos. Interesting...

@20:
Yeah, I guess I'd always seen "knacks" as a sort of vestigial remnant of magic that pops up from time-to-time among the general population of the 4Cs. Perhaps there are some folks who manage to access bits of their sleeping mind but are completely unaware that they are doing so - and, almost like a magical "facial tick" or a sub-conscious habitual mannerism, they just end up accessing only the same "knack" each time. What's more, the more they access the same knack, the more they embed just that one "pathway", almost blocking off any other access to their sleeping mind in the process...?
Jeremy Raiz
24. Jezdynamite
Johnpoint@17 - I've been thinking a similar thing for awhile but I couldn't find a good reason to substantiate it until you just provided your theory. Thank you.
Bruce Wilson
25. Aesculapius
Oh, and for what it's worth, I'm broadly in agreement with the other views above regarding K's fling with Losi at the Pennysworth.

In the grand scheme of things, yes, it's probably a bit selfish of him and this is undoubtedly a theme we will return to with K but, on the other hand, he's only seventeen, he's just discovered sex (actually, he's just discovered Felurian, for goodness sake - talk about all-or-nothing...!), Losi seems to know what she's about and it all seemed pretty consensual. Yes, he says seven words to her but I'm far from convinced that she was in any way compelled - or indeed that she was expecting anything more from K than she got.
Katy Maziarz
26. ArtfulMagpie
"Knacks. I rember this discussion. Im sti holding to a slightly different perspective. That once all were powerful, then the seperate species emerged. When the Moon was caught between two worlds there seemed to be a massive shift in power. It mostly went into Faen, leaving the 4c's with the dregs. I belive knacks are a reflection of this. Knacks are small bits of magic left in humans, whilst the Fae seem to be full of it. Or that knacks come from ancesters that have interbred with Fae or the older folk.

As opposed to knacks being the origins."

That's not so very different from my theory. Basically, my thoughts are that in the original ur-species, before humans and Fae, there were people who had abilities. Maybe not every person, but it was fairly common. Some people were Namers/Shapers; others had specific abilities more like what we've seen from Felurian and her "knack" for attracting men, ha. When Fae was created, my theory goes, many of the trained and powerful magic users went there--it seems tailor made for them! A world of magic where the magical can live pretty much forever, indulging their desires and playing at politics and whatever else! And those people became the Fae. But in the people who stayed in the FC and evolved into humans, the genetic tendency for magic didn't disappear entirely...it became what they term the "knack," popping up once in a while. (It may well be as uncommon as it is partly because people with the knack didn't tend to reproduce--but were killed as being witches or demons!) Perhaps if they knew how to use it, could learn to turn it on and off, humans with knacks could still be powerful magic users. But that knowledge has been lost, along with the knowledge to make Adem swords and siege-stones.
Mike Dorr
27. Westmarch
I think Adem beliefs on the causes of pregnancy is a natural outgrowth of their polyamorous society with frequent conjugations. One passage in the conversation with Penthe makes me think that it is simply a "folk belief" and not a real difference.
Penthe looked at me with something close to pity. "Sometimes a women ripens. It is a natural thing, and men have no part in it. That is why more women ripen in the fall, like fruit. That is why more women ripen here in Haert, where it is better to have a child."
If ripening is what we would call the last trimester, it stands to reason that ripening in fall and in Haert is tied to the Adem calendar in some form or fashion. If, for example, most Adem mercenaries went home for the winter (stands to reason, harder for all in 4C to travel in winter), there would be more frequent "activities" in the winter between Adem men and women. Six to nine 4C months later, in fall, women ripen, even if pregnancy wasn't obvious for the spring/summer months.

An earlier comment that higher body fat content required for fertility would lend credence to winter conceptions, as bodies will naturally put on fat in winter for warmth.
Ashley Fox
28. A Fox
@26. Sure thats why I said 'slightly' :) Also it was more in the views that are being upheld by this theory-that the Chandrian's signs and Felurians natural allure are due to evolved knacks.

As they are powerful beings from a time long ago full of such power it seems to me that knacks are the devolution of such power, not the origins. Ruarch & Fae. The 4c's & Faen. The Moon. The possibilities before the CW & the dark-age/loss of magic/tech after the CW. The separation of species/power/moon all seem to be intriniscally linked.

@27 I had initially thought along these lines. But..others suggestions here that the Adem may in fact have a unique reproduction system based on them being a parralel species has caught my attenion. (I dont beieve any one person said this, but discussion led to it....). It seem a very PR thing to do; take a readers logical expectations/presumptions (Rep in K) then twist these about completely by revealing a pausable alternative (Other species being regularily mentioned if never dscussed outright).
images10dream
29. Dominiquex
I've always believed the same as 27. The idea that a culture with frequent copulation and non-monogamy would not develop the connection between sex and conception isn't new. I came across it first in Jean Auel's (terrible) Clan of the Cave Bear (although that culture did recognize the necessity of men, they just thought it was a spiritual fertilization of sorts based on the strength of totem animals). You add that to the fact that human women stop often stop menstruating (going through the hormone cycles necessary for ovulation) when they exercise excessively and I find it totally plausible. You have an entire culture of matriarchal martial artists who begin intensive training in childhood. They can devote all their time to it because most material needs are taken care of through the mercenary system's cash infusion. With that much training, I'd be surprised if they do ovulate much. But they continue to have sex constantly. Then maybe you get to be a bit older and start to think about having your children, you slow down a little bit, become more contemplative, gain some body fat. You can't go outside as much in winter/everybody's home for the winter. Bam, you conceive. Makes sense to me.
images10dream
30. master
with losi I think that the seven words werent literal. just that rothfuss likes the number seven almost as much as martin and decided to use it in an interesting way, ie loso does not equal enchanted.

when it comes to magic I think the namers and shapers are the same thing with different philosophies and the lesses magics are all derived rom them.
images10dream
31. Jeff R.
Are those seven words still seven words in the translations, by the way?

Also, I found myself extremely frustrated by Kvothe not bringing up the question of whether Adem women living in Ademre who were exclusively lesbian ever became pregnant.
images10dream
32. JohnPoint
Thanks for the thoughts @21-24, re my Lackless box/Selitos rock theory. I'll look for additional points to support it or contradict it as I reread, and post more when we get back to Severen.

Other thoughts: I want to echo the comments about Losi. I really didn't get the impression that she was used or heartbroken. I really don't think that the "seven words" are a magical way of "making" a woman love you, but rather it's a metaphore showing that you have to have the confidence to TALK to a woman and show your interest in her.

I'm even hesitant to condemn Kvothe for his behavior back at the University -- he's a 17 year old guy, awakened to sex, and surrounded by women who are interested in it as well (and in him). I didn't get the impression that he was a jerk to them, just a bit of a libertine. We also have to remember that Pat spent nearly a decade in college, and certainly saw plenty of similar relationships there. It also seems to me that much of the 4C world is less prudish than much of our society...

I'm pretty skeptical about the parthenogenesis theory too -- yes, it could be the explaination, but it's more likely a "quirky" belief chosen to highlight the differences in cultures, and is a result of the open sexuality of their culture.
thistle pong
33. thistlepong
I read Kvothe's seven words as a rhetorical flourish as well. But we'd be foolish to ignore Jo's insight just because we'd prefer it weren't true. In all other cases, the seven words motif is deployed in relation to Denna. Why here, why now? Folks are perfectly willing to find magic in the smallest detail in other parts of the story; we should keep an open mind about this.

@17/JohnPoint
That's a stone I hadn't considered. What a fanatastic notion! Mountain glass would be obsidian, sharp and cruel. I can't remember anyone going the glass route for the contents of the box. And yet it resonates.

My thoughts jumped to a different place, though. That /(obsidian)/ is trapped withn the box, possibly by multiple magics. The wood has the same scent as the Rhinna tree, in which the Cthaeh is imprisoned. And we have no idea why the Cthaeh can't leave the tree. So the Loeclos binds the Cthaeh. Which would make the Cthaeh Selitos, a pet theory that won't stop yapping at me.

Jo asked in pt 18 why the Cthaeh refused to answer Kvothe about the Amyr, "Would an answer about the Amyr be more revealing?" Bear with me a moment. Selitos was a pretty important figure in the Creation War, and he's the subject of Skarpi's story: "a man who lost his eye and gained a better sight."
Just by looking at a thing Selitos could see its hidden name and understand it. In those days there were many who could do such things, but Selitos was the most powerful namer of anyone alive in that age.
and
Such was the power of his sight that he could read the hearts of men like heavy-lettered books.
He begins with most of what Tehlu & Pals end up with in the following story. No wonder Aleph's gift wasn't much of a temptation. Later on in this first one, he notes that Iax, Aleph and Lyra could match his skill in names. They could not surpass it. Perhaps they couldn't see into the heart so well. The Cthaeh, on the other hand, is something else. Yes, it can read Kvothe's heart as though he we asking questions aloud. But according to Bast, it can also infer the furture perfectly like Augustine's God. Better sight indeed.


But Iax spoke to the Cthaeh before he stole the moon. Since Hespe's story is all we have to go on, and Bast's assertion providing the link between that and Felurian's portion, we'll have to take what we can from it. Jax finds the odd old hermit high in the mountains, a location that evokes (Myr) Tariniel. The odd old hermit listens to his heart, answers some questions, and offers some advice. Jax misinsterprets what's said and goes about binding the moon.

But Lanre spoke to the Cthaeh before orchestrating the betrayal of Myr Tariniel. I'd like to revisit the word choice. However, the simplest interpretation is that yes, he did. Selitos and Lanre walked and talked all day, then Lanre turned on him. Slightly more complicated but ever so much more satisfying is that seven were poisoned against the empire and six of them betrayed the cities that trusted them. These seven cities were defended by stregth of arm, and thus by Lanre, to paraphrase Skarpi. One city was not betrayed. And Selitos was surprised. In fact, in Denna's version, "Selitos was a tyrant, an insane monster who tore out his own eye in fury at Lanre’s clever trickery." They agree on a point, Selitos was tricked. He did not see this coming.
You have beaten me once through guile, but never again. Now I see truer than before and my power is upon me.
I'm pretty convinced, but it has some disturbing repercussions. Selitos and Aleph are definitely shapers. I think someone else noted that these identified powerful namers from the war are shown doing stuff that looks suspiciously like shaping: changing Haliax, changing Tehlu, rez'ing Lanre, stealing the moon.

I keep coming back to other weird points, too. The beast with scales of black iron wasn't Faen, unless it was in continual pain and the Fae around it hated life constantly. Lanre fought it and slew it at the cost of his own life. and it really seems like a draccus, and those are mortal creatures that still exist. Tehlu & Pals "leave this world behind, to better serve it" and "disappear forever from mortal sight." They're clearly active in the Mortal, so what world did they leave behind? Coming back to Bast, why does he refer to the betrayal of Myr Tariniel? He's Faen. If it was in the Mortal, he benefitted. And so, according to Felurian, the Mortal brought war to Faen when Faen stole the moon. Was the war waged there? Were all eight cities Faen? Shehyn's story notes that not only did the sky change, the land cracked as well. Does that explain how Murella could be in Faen following the theft of the moon?

Okay that's ridiculously long...
and meandering, but it'll be easier to clarify it than rewrite it, aplogies
images10dream
34. master
"I'm pretty convinced, but it has some disturbing repercussions. Selitos and Aleph are definitely shapers. I think someone else noted that these identified powerful namers from the war are shown doing stuff that looks suspiciously like shaping: changing Haliax, changing Tehlu, rez'ing Lanre, stealing the moon."

An important factor is that we don't know much about what happened in the war besides a few half told stories.

If I had to guess I'd say that naming was using names to control while shapers used names to change. Soa shaper would name shadow to create fae, and that shadow would CHANGE into a physical thing allowing it to be turned into a cloak.

A namer would be able to use the name of shadow to create a cloak in fae becuase its already been changed. But they wouldnt want to create the fae becuase it goes against their philosophy.

The main hing is the point where naming turns into shaping. Its one thing to make fire into a rough shape of a person, its another to make fire into an actual living being that can move around and think.

I guess it might be possible for a namer to keep someone alive like what happened to lanre. But it would probably take shaping to make someone immortal like the fae.

_________________________________________________

on another point. I'd say that lanres change into haliax was becuase his name was changed. The change in his name would be like a shaper making shadow solid enough to turn into a cloak. It would completely change its very nature. And the story did detail lanres change in nature
images10dream
35. mr. awesome
I disagree strongly with the Selitos rock/mommet theory.

Reasons:
1. It's a completely arbitrary item. Many others would be more relevant.
2. Kote's longing to open the chest suggests it has a strong personal connection in addition to its probable global importance.
3. It would require too much unnecessary detail to explain why the rock would have any significance today or how the rock moved through history. It would be boring. That's not PR's style, or any other good author's.
4. Similar to 3, it would introduce too many new story elements. This relates less to the enjoyability of the book and more to the quality of Rothfuss' craft. Good authors like Rothfuss hint at what's to come, there are no hints indicating that a random rock will be important.
Matt Wolfe
36. formflow1
The first thing I thought of when reading abouth the man mothers was an old essay about dark suckers. Most peolpe thing light bulbs give off light, but what they actually do is suck up darkness. As evidenced by the dark stain they have once they have sucked up all the dark they can. The largest dark suckers are stars, which after consuming dakness for millions of years can become black holes.
It sounds like a neat fantasy world twist, but I think their human physiology is meant to be similar to our own, and PR is just fleshing out a fun idea, and showing the Adem's culture is not as westernized as the rest of the 4C (four corner) world that we have been shown.

It actually bothered me more that Kvothe stole gold from the Maer, than his fling with Losi. He does know that he is stealing in the one case and justifies it to us and his companions, though he discloses to us that he took more than he let his companions know about. Fornication does not seem to have the stigma attached to it in the 4C world that we have here in some parts of the real world.
Chris Palmer
37. cmpalmer
So, would I be completely sexist if I agreed with the others that Losi seduced him first and he's a 17'ish year old guy who has just discovered sex with a woman who is practically a succubus?

For what it's worth, when he says Losi "loved" him, I was thinking more of a euphemistic term for the physical act than an emotional attachment.
images10dream
38. Mouette
Again with the Kvothe hate, the automatic and biased assignment of immorality or at best amorality to him. It's bothered me before in this reread, but never so much that I had to comment on it.

I agree with the many previous posters who have pointed out the eyebrow-raising interpretation in the portrayal of Kvothe's time with Losi. The worst thing he's ever done? Really?

Losi was not a calf-eyed farm girl who was forever ruined after having him break her heart; she was clearly explained in her earlier appearance as an amorous and confident woman who picked her own bed partners and enjoyed them thoroughly. She hits on Kvothe when he's first there, and while he doesn't look as young as he is, he still looks *young*, sixteen or seventeen. Losi backs off when she realizes just how inexperienced he is, but by her approach of him, she doesn't have a problem being the older woman to seduce a younger man. When he returns, he has the experience to match her flirting, and they have a wonderful time together before parting on mutually agreeable terms.


"Some might take offense at this way of seeing things, not understanding how a trouper views his music. They might think I degrade women. They might consider me callous, or boorish, or crude. But those people do not understand love, or music, or me.”


Kvothe's already given us that quote on how he views love and sex; love can mean romantic-epic-forever love, or it can mean love for a day or week or night, or anything in between. I thought it was pretty obvious from the context of the book that he wasn't meaning love solely as LOVE, soulmate-level binding that she can never break free of. He doesn't use crude modern words to describe sex; he usually calls it love or other poetic euphemistic phrases, and that's the spirit I read this in. I *certainly* never read it as he forced her to love him for the rest of her days.

His comparing her to an instrument was just that, him grasping for the nearest metaphor he has, to show - rather than that he views women as things - but that he cherishes each woman for her unique and separate self. Kvothe does not view instruments and music as *things*, but as living, breathing, damn near sentient entities. Foreign from him, but worthy of devotion, respect, love, and time. In the same way a teenage boy might very well view a girl as a being foreign from him, but her own worthwhile and individually valuable person.
thistle pong
39. thistlepong
It's an if statement. If Kvothe used magic, then that's indefensible. If not, then it's a consensual series of encounters both parties enter into freely.

There are some textual clues. The first is that he's constantly throwing seven words at Denna, only Denna, and that it appears in the narrative in relation to her. Except here. The second is that Losi's attentions are among the things Kvothe is glad to be leaving behind. If everyone's as mature as folks want to believe, he could easily say no and she would just as easily agree. The third, and admittedly weakest, is that his decent-but-not-great "Song Half Sung" is a surefire hit when Losi starts whistling it. She's a local figure, sure, but Felurian's reputation, for example, is built on the men who pine for her. Perhaps Kvothe is counting on the same thing.



But really, it's simply either or; magic or no. Given we find magic everywhere, this is at least a possibility.

As for Kvothe's morality, he gets hard to defend. Theft, burglary, embezzlement, destruction of property, arson, assault, battery, malfeasance, murder...
Jo Walton
40. bluejo
There's a huge difference between a sexually active woman having sex with people she's attracted to and falling in love.

Kvothe having sex with Losi wouldn't have bothered me one bit -- I'd have been in complete agreement with what people are saying, mutual, enthusiastic, no problem.

What bothers me is his immediate use of the nuclear option -- the "seven words to make a woman love you". I think it is magic, and whether or not it's magic it's not "copulate with you" it's "love you". Love.

If he'd made her love him and not touched her I'd still think just as badly of him.

Really, everyone thinks this is OK? You'd make someone fall in love with you and then leave without a second thought two days later?
Jo Walton
41. bluejo
(I am now thinking of the little boy in the movie Love Actually saying "The total agony of being in love!")
Gerd K
42. Kah-thurak
@bluejo
I think this is not so much a difference in the assessment of Kvothes behavior but much more a difference in the understanding of "and she loved me and her pride was safe". If this is conceived in the way you do - she falls for him completely and will be deeply hurt when he leaves her - then Kvothe is an ass here. But I personally dont read it that way. And if this is seen more as a "passion" then the way the story treats the event makes much more sense.

@"parthenogenesis theory"
I think this is deeply illogical. If a race reproduces that way, "males" wouldnt exist in that race. "Females" neither. The race would be asexual. To me this reads more like the application of deeply medieval sexism (women have no part in the creation of life, they just carry the seed) into a matriarchaic society. And the sexism is very real with Adem. Males are considered pretty much useless and inferior in any way, so this fits quite good actually.
Jo Walton
43. bluejo
Kah-thurak -- the theory is that they can either conceive "normally" sexually, or parthenogenetically, in which case the child will be female and a clone of the mother. If this is the case, as it is with some frogs, you get a 65% female to male ratio.
Steven Halter
44. stevenhalter
Thinking about Kvothe's use of seven words for Losi, I think it is another clue that all is not right with Kvothe after the Cthaeh. As I mentioned before, he really should have gone back for D instead of traipsing off to the Stormwal. He tries out seven words a lot on D and has real feelings for her (it seems). Instead, as soon as he meets an attractive woman he (for the first time other than D) speaks seven words to her and takes her to bed. Just as with Felurian and as the Cthaeh prodded him he forgets about D. Recall that as far as he knows D is getting regularly beaten by Mr. Ash.
Katy Maziarz
45. ArtfulMagpie
"Really, everyone thinks this is OK? You'd make someone fall in love with you and then leave without a second thought two days later?"

Yes, I do think it's okay, because I didn't read it as THAT KIND of love. I think that if we were meant to think that Losi would be pining for Kvothe forever more, we would have gotten a bit more description indicating that! I read "she loved me and her pride was safe" as "I complimented her and it made her happy and she loved me the way that a woman can love a charming young man who compliments her extravagantly and makes her feel good for a little while" not as "she fell completely head-over-heels in True Love Forever with me and would be heartbroken when I left." If it were the latter, yes, it would be unconscionable. But I felt that it was the former--not True Love with the capital letters, but little "l" love, a love that is pleasant but no one thinks is forever. A crush, even?
images10dream
46. AhoyMatey
I'd never read it as Kvothe casting a spell on Losi. I thought he'd just developed confidence with women after his time with Felurian. You can contrast the second meeting with Losi with the first. Very different reactions from him.

Maybe it's because he's the main protagonist, but I just don't see Kvothe as a bad guy. He's very driven - sometimes to the point of idiocy - to achieve his goal of exacting revenge on the Chandrian. He doesn't go out of his way to hurt people. In fact, it's normally the opposite.
images10dream
47. RoryB
@40 -- It seems to me that we have several questions we need to answer.

1) Are the seven words actual magic or poetic license? I had always interpreted it as the latter, but I can see a case for the former.

2) If we assume that it is indeed magic, then did K -- at *that*time -- know that it was magic? Up to this point in the timeline, K has been exposed to this concept only once, as a throwaway question from Elodin at his very first Admissions test.

" Do you know the seven words that will make a women love you?" "No." "They exist."

To the best of my knowledge, that's all the info that K possesses on the seven words. Now up to this point, K doesn't really get Elodin. He hasn't had his epiphany that E's erratic behavior is actually teaching him. Heck, at the time that this exchange occurs, K hasn't yet been taught by Elodin. I see no reason why, at the time, K could possibly know what he is doing here (assuming again that we're talking literal magical compulsion and not poetic license).

Again assuming this is true magic, the reveal of how K comes to understand that the seven words are indeed true magic would seem to be a major plot point in the story K is telling. I'm not sure that we should hold an explicit lack of remorse against him here. We're already well aware that K has much to regret in the telling of this tale, breaking off now to explain exactly why he regrets this instance would seem to ruin the narrative. How this power is revealed, and K's reaction to that knowledge, should go along way towards coloring how we judge his actions here.
images10dream
48. Berkeley Hunt
New commenter, long time reader.

Weighing in on the 'seven words' debate, it seems that two views have emerged.

The first would be that speaking a seven word phrase to a person can be imbued with a magic that will cause the subject to fall in deep love with the speaker.

The second is that a seven word phrase is not really powerful magic or at least not intentionally favouring one party. It seems like this view holds that it won't force you to fall into pining forever type love.

I view it as a sort of cosmic symmetry. Simply, words that inspire love or deep affection are seven words long. I really like the idea of the seven words being of those strange knacks the world has, that love begins with seven words, and your sleeping mind knows seven words that are right for you and someone else. On that note, I'd love to see if the sentance Sim says that makes Fela fall in love with him is seven words long.

Personally, I dont see Kvothe as being capable of taking a regular person and straight up co-ercing them with magic into having sex with him, which is what Jo seems to be implying.

I just dont think Losi is in anyway co-erced or diregarded as a person throughout. I also dont think that the seven words are a 'nuclear option' so much as the right words at the right time, which is in it's own way a kind of magic. But explicitly not naming.

@45 This is exactly how I see it. I'm not sure why love must be constrained within the bounds of serious, long term, sexual relationships. Much like marriage, its a big definition that doesn't fit all situations.

@17 The stone makes a lot of sense. Regardless of pacing or thematic issues re:@35, the box is clearly meant to bind something in place, and binding a binding seems very appropriate. But similarly, something like a key, to the four plate door etc. would be just as appropriate, so for me its still up in the air.
images10dream
49. dwndrgn
There is no doubt that Kvothe is a selfish, 17 year old boy who has just discovered he has oats to sow. However, he has never before deliberately attempted to harm another person unless defending himself, and he is smart enough to know a magical compulsion of the type some commenters are liking this to is a very bad thing. Usually he is a jerk or whatever by inattention or looking in instead of seeing around him. I'm on the 'not magic' team with regards to Kvothe's seven words here.

He used those seven words to prove to her that he had grown up a little and changed and got himself some experience and then she was the actual instrument of the rest of them believing his tale (I think, it has been a while since I read this section). That was the main purpose of his flattering her like that.

I think that had those seven words been a magical compulsion, there would have been evidence for it in her actions (wouldn't she have caused a scene trying to keep Kvothe there or try to go with him if she was that much in love?) but the text gives us nothing of that.

I think I need to go re-read this section though because I don't recall it clearly enough.
Julia Mason
50. DrFood
I'm with Dominiquex on the seven words idea. Elodin asked Kvothe about this in his very first admissions interview/examination. I think it was more about "what do you know about life/humanity" or "are you experienced?"

I don't think there are seven specific words that will make a woman love you. Not here on earth, and not in the 4C world. This is not a midsummer night's dream. Magic in the 4C world is closer to current high level physics. G+ post from PR in December:
Am I surprised that current experiments in quantum entanglement resemble sympathetic magic? No. No I am not.Entangled diamonds vibrate together : Nature News & Comment
If Kvothe was actually capable of magically charming a woman into loving him, his interactions with Denna would be completely different. He told her about the seven words thing when they spent an evening together in Imre.
"Your eyes were far away just then," she said. "What were you thinking?"
I shrugged, buying a moment to think. I couldn't tell her the truth. I knew every man must compliment her, bury her in flattery more cloying than roses. I took a subtler path. "One of the masters at the University once told me that there were seven words that would make a woman love you." I made a deliberately casual shrug. "I was just wondering what they were."
"Is that why you talk so much? Hoping to come on them by accident?"
I really, truly don't think that Kvothe was employing some sort of nuclear option on Losi. She wanted to "trip" him the first time she met him, but when she made a pass at him, he froze up. Later, after getting a whole lot of experience, he was able to return fire, as it were. What I'm saying is, the attraction was mutual, nobody was victimized.
thistle pong
51. thistlepong
@49: He deliberately attacks Devi. He deliberately destroys Ambrose's property on multiple occasions. He plans to ambush and kill the bandits. He murders the (false) Ruh. He breaks that kid's arm in Levinsher. None of those are self defense. Just saying.

@35:
1. It’s not arbitrary. It’s the only glass stone in hundreds of pages.
2. Are you conflating the chest and the box?
3. It would require one story alluding to the bad turn Cinder did the Cthaeh. (And, to be honest, the most common criticism leveled against the Chronicle is that it’s boring and nothing happens. I totally disagree, but I also disagree that Kvothe getting caught up in the oldest drama in the world would be boring.)
4. It introduces no new story elements. Letting the Cthaeh loose seems scary as hell and it would explain without even having to state it why Tehlu and the Amyr are such jerks.

Technically, it reopens the possibility of an epic win. Still doubt that, though.
Julia Mason
52. DrFood
Well, I've had a long comment snagged again, probably because it contains a link. Last time this happened, it jumped back into the queue a day or so later, changing all the comment numbers that followed. Very frustrating.

Since it's likely to show up I won't try to repeat, but short version is, I don't think that seven words exist as some sort of nuclear option. I don't see Losi as any sort of victim.
Julia Mason
53. DrFood
Here is the second time that Elodin tells Kvothe about seven words. It's when Kvothe tells him he still doesn't understand about names. Elodin tells him the nature of names can't be described.
Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts. There are seven words that will make a person love you. There are ten words that will break a strong man's will. But a word is nothing but a painting of a fire. A name is the fire itself.
I see this as an essay on the power of words, but not as a description of specific magical charms. I see the entire trilogy as a meditation on the power of story.
images10dream
54. JohnPoint
Thistlepong @33 -- Selitos is the Cthaeh... wow! Now that is an interesting thought, and definitely changes my interpretation re @17.

mr. awesome @35 -- I don't agree with your points about the Selitos stone theory, but won't reiterate what thistlepong @51 commented. to me, it seems like it would tie together a lot of details that have been otherwise alluded to.

Cthaeh and butterflies: I had the distinct impression that the Cthaeh was eating the butterflies, not just wontonly killing them. the wings, of course, aren't edible (just like when a sparrow eats a butterfly, it leaves the wings). not sure whether that's all that relevant, but it was how I interpreted it. Afterall, butterflies are its only food source, since nothing else can approch the tree.
Chris Palmer
55. cmpalmer
For the record, I when I said "succubus" I was referring to Felurian, not Losi. I think she fits the definition.
images10dream
56. Mouette
@39: My problem isn't that Kvothe's morality is questionable. It's that alternate views of his morality aren't discussed or even allowed as possible options or explanations. Generally the re-read leaps to the worst possible view of any questionable act Kvothe takes, without even a glance to the notion that it might not be the awful thing that it's being interpreted as - like here. Walton doesn't ponder for a second that this might not be magical compulsion, that the possibility of it being just a successful flirtation exists.

Kvothe has his faults and flaws. But the kind of person who immediately leaps into a fiery inferno to save another person *generally* is not the kind of person who will also knowingly and intentionally take the will away from someone else.

And what about Denna and the stream, when she's high on denner resin? Kvothe takes great care there to assure us that he did not go to her and did not touch her while she was out of her mind. More specifically, he says that there are names for men who would take advantage of a woman like that, and *he will never be rightly called by them*.

If Kvothe had acted in the way that the re-read is suggesting, it would be directly against his stated loathing of someone who would take advantage of a woman. If the story conceptualized this incident that way at *all*, then it would be presented very differently - certainly not shown as a lighthearted adventure.
images10dream
57. ryamano
I'm also not convinced Kvothe used magic to compel Losi to love him. The exchange seemed c0nsensual and the text doesn't hold enough evidence, to me, to show that Losi was "deeply in love with Kvothe and wanted him to remain, becoming heartbroken once he left and living a miserable life afterwards".

Also, as others have said, contraceptives seem to be common in other parts of 4C, not only near the University. Kvothe chews sylphium and he tells the admere he sleeps with that she should have some tea after they had sex (apparently the tea isn't restricted to near the University if he tells her to get that in Adem).

Regarding ademre's parthenogenesis theory: one of the things that characterize ademre society is their xenophobia. They don't have sex with foreigners, Kvothe seems to be the first, because they have fear of getting STDs. All Ademres are described as somewhat blonde or light haired. There are no people from other races (as in black, east asian, east indian, etc) in Adem or even in the 4C we have seen so far. The world seems to be comprised so far only of people who are basically white (the ruh are persecuted due to their ways and their red hair, some people might be more tanned, like modegans, but all are basically white/european). So there's no chance of some random black or asian dude arriving in a single adem village and creating mixed race children there and only there (and not in other villages). That'd be proof of males participating in breeding. So it seems important to me that the Adem are xenophobic regarding sex. The point was raised by the adem themselves before they had sex with Kvothe and it wouldn't be important if there was only parthenogenesis.
Why I thought of this? Beacause in the first post in this series Jo said that maybe the Adem theory on where babies come from might've been true in PR's world. Well, I'm mixed race and I looked nothing like my mother even when I was a baby (and the adem say that babies look all alike, and don't say there's a resemblance between them and the males or even the females of the population). So I asked myself "if this theory is true, where do mixed race people come from?". The answer is simple "there are no mixed race people if this theory is true". So I'm waiting to see if there are people from other races in the 4C and if one of them might be able to reproduce with ademre. I still hold the view that it's not true, since the xenophobia bit was given some attention in the telling of the story.
Katy Maziarz
58. ArtfulMagpie
"Regarding ademre's parthenogenesis theory: one of the things that characterize ademre society is their xenophobia. They don't have sex with foreigners, Kvothe seems to be the first, because they have fear of getting STDs."

Really? Because I'm pretty sure Vashet had quite the relationship going with her poet king in the Small Kingdoms...and neither she nor Penthe hesitated to take Kvothe to bed. I really don't think it's fair to say that the Adem don't ever have sex with foreigners. Even if the parthenogenisis thing isn't true, the low body fat/low fertility thing may well be. It may simply be that when the Adem women are around foreigners, they are at a low ebb in their fertility because they are training and working hard, every day, as merceneries. Thus, they are less likely to get pregnant when they have sex with foreigners. But when they return to Ademre and are not training/fighting as hard, they are more likely to be fertile.

Also keep in mind that Vashet tells Kvothe that Haert is a much more isolated and strict community than the one she came from...where Vashet was raised, they grew up speaking Aturan and had a lot more contact with non-Adem. Just because there aren't any mixed-race people in isolated Haert doesn't mean that there aren't any mixed-race Adem in the more cosmopolitan communities.
George Brell
59. gbrell
@39.thistlepong:

I think this summarizes my view. If it was actual coercive magic, Kvothe is guilty of some form of rape. If it wasn't, then Kvothe is guilty of nothing except perhaps being self-centered.

@57.ryamano/@58.ArtfulMagpie:

The Adem's xenophobia does not appear to absolutely prevent them from sleeping with non-Adem, but the text does suggest that it is less common.

"She said she didn't know of any woman who would willingly go three months without sex, except those who were travelling among the barbarians, or very ill, or very old."

I would also point out that neither of them slept with Kvothe until he had been brought into their culture: Vashet while he was under her teutalage and Penthe only after his stone trial.

@57.ryamano:

There are no people from other races (as in black, east asian, east indian, etc) in Adem or even in the 4C we have seen so far. The world seems to be comprised so far only of people who are basically white (the ruh are persecuted due to their ways and their red hair, some people might be more tanned, like modegans, but all are basically white/european).

Cealds are described as having a "ruddy complexion and dark hair and eyes." They are also repeatedly described as "dark." Since they are an ethnic group that is identifiable by appearance, I've always pictured them as being non-white, though I admit that the term "ruddy" can certainly describe caucasian skin tones.
- -
60. The_Bloody_Nine
As per usual, I've been beaten to most of my punches. I won't repeat all the many fine points previous posters brought up in defense of Kvothe, so if I were to add anything at this point, it would be this.

During the Draccus episode, Kvothe/Kote passionately defends that no one would ever be able to justifiably refer to him as a rapist. Because this is essentially a reference to his possibly being raped in Tarbean, I cannot conceive of any scenario in which he would break this particular personal rule; it seems to be too deeply ingrained in his very being. Think back to the plum bob incident: while he was quite happy to do outright murder without so much as a flicker of emotion, he still knew it would be shameful and wrong to force himself on Fela. So even if I were to agree with Jo on the seven words actually being a powerful kind of compelling magic, I don't believe there's any real way to interpret this as a consciously malicious act on Kvothe's part. (As it so happens, I don't believe that about the seven words at all. It seems to me to be far more likely to be Patrick Rothfuss being terribly clever with language in yet another way.)

I would also add that Rothfuss's vehement support of the feminist cause at his university makes me incredibly reluctant to believe he would ever write Kvothe as behaving in such a morally reprehensible manner. Other characters, yes; but not Kvothe. Any time any sexual coercion takes place, it is immediately (and obviously rightfully) condemned in the surrounding passages. (The faux-Ruh, the girl rescued by Denna in the alleyway, et cetera.)

The root of Kvothe's sexual awakening appears to be threefold:
1. Biology
2. The complete lack of sexual taboo during his time with Felurian
3. The immediate reinforcement of that lack of taboo during his time spent in Ademre

The latter two, I think, conspire to irreversibly adjust his views on sexual freedom in the later parts of the book. Which is why, back at the University, he becomes somewhat of a man about town: he knows the joys of sex and, being of relative celebrity in this part of the Four Corners, has no great difficulty chatting girls into his bed. But he never leads anyone on, never pretends to be more emotionally involved than he actually is. As Fela confirms (or rather, explains to him) during their talk about his romantic escapades.

All of which is an incredibly longwinded and roundabout sort of way of saying I simply cannot but respectfully disagree with Jo's interpretation in this case.

RE: manmothers - I seem to recall an interview with Rothfuss in which he said there were real world examples of peoples believing that very thing (and other things much more strange still). That neither confirms nor denies its veracity in the story though.
thistle pong
61. thistlepong
@55 (cmpalmer)
I removed that bit. Thanks for clarifying.
Katy Maziarz
62. ArtfulMagpie
"The Adem's xenophobia does not appear to absolutely prevent them from sleeping with non-Adem, but the text does suggest that it is less common. "She said she didn't know of any woman who would willingly go three months without sex, except those who were travelling among the barbarians, or very ill, or very old.""

Okay, fair enough, I missed or forgot that part. But I still don't think it is XENOPHOBIA, per se, that keeps the mercenaries from having sex while traveling among the barbarians, so much as it is a quite practical concern--no Adem have any STDs. Kvothe says perhaps 5 in 100 of his people have such diseases, higher among those who frequent brothels. And Penthe tells him that the women are warned about that before going out--to me, that indicates that there is no actual cultural prohibition about having sex with outsiders--if so, they wouldn't have to be warned about it, they just wouldn't do it. My feeling is that it's mainly the fear of bringing STDs back to Ademre that stops them. Perhaps those, like Vashet, who work long-term with a particular "barbarian," like the several years she spent with her poet king, are more likely to sleep with them because a certain level of trust arises and they know the partner to be disease free. Anyway. Long-winded. But still.
B T
63. amphibian
This is a fantasy book, so I can forgive Rothfuss for doing this - but I have to say that it is IMPOSSIBLE for anyone human to be training and working 15 hours a day and truly learning martial arts at the pace that Kvothe is.

The most elite athletes on Earth today train three or four times a day for a total of five to seven hours. They take naps in between, eat quite a bit of good food, take supplements, have massages and so on. Some even turn to steroids to help them recover. Any more and the brain and body revolt. Injuries start to happen more and more, techniques aren't retained as often and the experience goes sour.

Plus there's the whole combat sports vs. form-based sports, as Rothfuss borrows from both because it makes for better entertainment than the truth.
images10dream
64. JohnPoint
One more point on the "seven words" discussion:

I didn't get the impression that Kvothe is trying a seven-word-to-make-you-love-me technique with anyone. Even Denna.

Kvothe talks constantly, especially when around Denna. He often happens to speak in sevens. Denna, not Kvothe, seems to be counting; she's the one who points it out. After Felurian, he realizes his innate sexuality. He uses "seven words" as a metaphore. As a way of indicating his attractiveness. As a way to remember his lovers. As a way of explaining "the spark;" what occurs when they're first mutually attracted. Not as coercive, morally questionable, magical compelling. There need be nothing magical about it.

But who knows?
images10dream
65. mr. awesome
1. It’s not arbitrary. It’s the only glass stone in hundreds of pages.

Why a glass stone over "something like a key, to the four plate door etc. would be just as appropriate"?

2. Are you conflating the chest and the box?

I was. Thanks.

3. It would require one story alluding to the bad turn Cinder did the Cthaeh. (And, to be honest, the most common criticism leveled against the Chronicle is that it’s boring and nothing happens. I totally disagree, but I also disagree that Kvothe getting caught up in the oldest drama in the world would be boring.)

I think it would be boring for Rothfuss to articulate a whole new reason that the stone would be significant. The stone was mentioned once in previous books, which means he'd need to spend lots of time discussing it and explaining its importance. I don't like the "ancient artifact" trope very much.

This is partly subjective, I suppose, since I like reading about characters much more than complicated and detailed worldbuilding. Rothfuss is a minimalist worldbuilder - he uses only a few tools to give a large overall picture, which is what I like. This analysis is insanely indepth, drawing from lots of details which are insignificant in the story, and even then we've only scratched the surface. I think Rothfuss would be changing his style for the worse if he explained much more of 4C history.

4. It introduces no new story elements. Letting the Cthaeh loose seems scary as hell and it would explain without even having to state it why Tehlu and the Amyr are such jerks.

This directly contradicts your 3rd point. And it does nothing to explain why Tehlu and the Amyr are such jerks (I also don't think that Tehlu was part of the Amyr, not sure where you're getting that from). (I also think the Amyr are pretty good guys except their later corruptions).
George Brell
66. gbrell
@62.ArtfulMagpie:

I agree that their cultural horror towards STDs plays a role. I also agree that their probably isn't a cultural prohibition against "sex play" with outsiders.

But I don't see a particularly wide line separating xenophobia from the fear of things that "barbarians" are rumored to possess. The fact that they refer to all non-Adem as barbarians makes me argue that xenophobia is a pillar of any of their dealings with the outside world.

@63.amphibian:

This is a fantasy book, so I can forgive Rothfuss for doing this - but I have to say that it is IMPOSSIBLE for anyone human to be training and working 15 hours a day and truly learning martial arts at the pace that Kvothe is.

Technically, the routine isn't always 15 hours of training.

"Run an hour, perform the Ketan, walk a mile, discuss the Lethani. It took about two hours..."
"We completed the cycle three times before our midday break. Six hours. I was covered in sweat and half-convinced I would die. After an hour to rest and eat, we were off again. We finished another three cycles before we stopped for the night."

Let's assume they are able to cover 5 miles in their hour run (this may be a high number considering how difficult it is to run while carrying weights). Anything less than 5 and we're talking about run-walking.

Walking a mile takes between 15-30 mins. Weighted, I'd expect a brisk walk to cover a mile in 20 minutes.

Tai-chi like movements are not easy, but should allow for some cardiovascular recovery. As would discussion of the Lethani.

Six cycles of this would amount to covering approximately 36 miles in a day. This is not an unbelievable pace, but would be very impressive weighted. It's not impossible, but I'd be hard-pressed to believe it could be sustained for fifteen days.

This was done till exhaustion (took two and a half days). At that point they should have covered approximately 92 miles.

"The remainder of the day was spent in recovery. We would walk a few miles, perform the Ketan, discuss the Lethani, then walk again."

Assuming that we simply replace running with walking (let's say 3 mph, a little high given the passing out), that means they'd cover four miles every two hours (two or three cycles). Let's say two cycles. That'd be 100 miles (in three days).

"The next day we went back to the cycles, but only two before midday and two after."

Four cycles would mean 24 miles a day. This was done for four days (until the "eighth day on the road").

So at this point they've travelled 196 miles in seven days.

On the eighth day, the routine has fighting added in. So it's now run, Ketan, fight, walk, Lethani.

"On the eleventh day, Tempi showed me how to incorporate my sword into the Ketan."
"With our sparring and the addition of the sword, each cycle took nearly two and a half hours. Still we kept to our schedule every day. Three cycles before noon, three cycles after. Fifteen hours in all."

It's not clear when they revert back to the three, three pattern. Let's assume that it was changed back two days after collapse (day 5), on day 8 (when fighting was added) or on day 11 (when he adds the sword).

Ten days in they'd have travelled either 340 miles (day 5), 304 miles (day 8), or 280 miles (day 11).

"We finished the trip in fifteen days. At my best guess, we covered almost three hundred miles in that time."

As demonstrated above, they'd have covered 300 miles well before fifteen days at the paces I'd described. By my estimation, they'd have travelled 520 miles (day 5), 484 miles (day 8), or 460 miles (day 11). So what is too high?

First, going up and down takes longer. General rule of thumb when backpacking (hiking at walking pace with weight) is an extra hour for every thousand feet up or down. That could be a factor here.

More likely, their running is too fast. Let's slow them down to four miles an hour (which is barely running, but with a travelsack and a sword, would remain impressive). That slows them down to 5 miles per cycle. They complete either 85 (day 5), 79 (day 8) or 75 (day 11) cycles plus the two cycles of walking after his collapse.

Slowing them down thus has them travelling 435 miles (day 5), 405 miles (day 8), or 385 miles (day 11) in fifteen days.

Frankly, I would believe the day 5 estimate is most accurate to the writing, so we should slow them down even further. Running at 3 mph (harder to do actually, but not unbelievable with a weighted pack) would have them travelling 350 miles in fifteen days.

So the running isn't particularly arduous. It's just constant. Would you be in a good position to train during and after that level of exertion? Probably not, but I don't think it's impossible.

The most elite athletes on Earth today train three or four times a day for a total of five to seven hours. They take naps in between, eat quite a bit of good food, take supplements, have massages and so on. Some even turn to steroids to help them recover. Any more and the brain and body revolt. Injuries start to happen more and more, techniques aren't retained as often and the experience goes sour.

I think these are all valid arguments against the usefulness of this strategy. But I don't think they question its feasibility. I agree that it doesn't seem well-considered to have Kvothe learn the Ketan (note that he doesn't seem to run insane distances once in Haert) and it does lack many of the amenities (rest, food, massages) that modern athletes utilize. It also definitely seems an invitation to injury (particularly to the feet, though his are rather well-soled). But none of that means it's impossible.

More importantly, this kind of running isn't appropriate training for physical combat. It's clear that the Adem don't value physical strength overly much (the Ketan appears to be more like Aikido than UFC), but fighting still requires strength that nothing he does (outside of the sword work) would actively train.

Perhaps this is the earliest example of Tempi being dumb.

Plus there's the whole combat sports vs. form-based sports, as Rothfuss borrows from both because it makes for better entertainment than the truth.

While I understand the distinction you're drawing, many combat sports have form-based elements. If he'd never actually fought Tempi, I'd have lost all suspension of disbelief, but he does spar with him for over a week. And all this eventually brings him up to what, well below the level of a ten-year old girl? Not inconceivable for a week of intensive studying after a month or more of practicing the movements.
Bruce Wilson
67. Aesculapius
@65

Re. the contents of the Leoclos box:
As far as we know, the box is several thousand years old — and they don't know what's in it or how to open it. Whatever it turns out to be, it's gonna be an ancient artefact whether you like it or not!

As for the specific idea of the "mountain glass" stone shard, that's as good a fit as any other guess we've had so far. Its appearance in the original Skarpi story is interesting when you look back at it; PR could have just said that Selitos put out his own eye, he didn't need to add the detail regarding how or what he used. Equally, the Lackless rhyme: In a box, no lid or locks / Lackless keeps her husband's rocks lends credence *and* some foreshadowing. K's own guess as to the contents of the box also veered away from metal towards an object of glass or stone (although, interestingly, at the time he doesn't make the leap to connect this with the rhyme).

Compared to some guesses we've had so far (such as, say, the key(s) to various doors!), I'd say this idea actually has far more going for it in terms of textual evidence and foreshadowing! In fact, in that respect, I think it might just be the best supported idea we've seen so far.

What the true significance of such a reveal might be we will have to wait and see but, actually, used like this it would tie up several strands of the back-story in a way which explains several things and potential connections that have been hinted at along the way.

Re. Tehlu and the Amyr
I don't think @51 was necessarily linking Tehlu with the Amyr - that's not how I read the syntax of that sentence. We've had plenty of discussion in previous threads regarding the nature of Tehlu and the other "angels" (who may, or may not, be the "singers") versus the different incarnations of the Amyr from the original Order, founded and led by Selitos, through other events in 4C history to their (apparent) disbanding and disappearance.

On the other hand, if the shard *is* in the Leoclos box then it would certainly be an important artefact to the (true) Amyr and might explain the Cthaeh's cryptic comment to K regarding the Maer. The surviving members of house Lockless would likely also be important to the Amyr — and it's possible that the Amyr might be protecting (or manipulating) them without their knowledge, either directly or indirectly. I'm not a great Dan Brown fan but the immediate comparison would be the role of the (fictional!) "Priory of Sion" in The daVinci Code.

This doesn't even begin to include the idea that it might all be further twisted and that Selitos could possibly be the Cthaeh — that's a whole other post!!
images10dream
68. JohnPoint
Thanks for the breakdown on mileage, gbrell @66.

Honestly, 4 miles an hour, with a pack, in the mountains isn't that extreme of a pace at all. It's a fast walk, but manageable over the long term. the summer the I hiked the Appalachian Trail, I regularly walked 20-30 miles per day, everyday, with a 20-30lb pack. No, I wasn't doing martial arts training at the same time, but it would have been possible.

The key is to be steady, and put in the time.
Ashley Fox
69. A Fox
A quick thought re other (possible) species and reproduction.

There are very interesting and logical suppositions regarding the Adem. But I still cant help my previous stated supposition.

So I wondered; of what do we know of other species reproduction? Shapers? Nothing. Namers (if even different)? Nothing. 'Mortals'-as expected. Fae?....

There is a point where K wonders if Bast has fathered children in the villiage. Bast refutes this, as if there is no possibility what-so-ever. Now upon first reading this I just presumed a rigorous use of contraceptive.

But what if Faen reproduce differently? Perhaps they make a conscious choice to become fertile, or engage in some form of magic whilst having sex to concieve. In fact we do not eve know if they are born. We know Bast is relatively young.

Felurian has no stories of her children, has no concern over conception, and has no experiance in mothering/caring (Her attempts with K & CTH's possible poisening).

IMO it is possible for each 'species' to interbreed. Probably the latter beings being descended from the earlier. But the Poster up there who mentioned the Adems zenophobia does have a valid point. The Adem do tend to be very insular, inc their sexual relations. It is clearly demonstated that when on jobs they restrict their relationships with their employers to professiional level. But, as demonstrated by the possible Vashet/Poet king this is not a rule per se(this is echoed in our own socities, its no professional to have sex with your fellow employee, but it does happen (Not inc prostitutes obviously)). When K is accepted into Heart, and to be taught the Lethani etc he is considered a fosterling, if you will, part of their community. He is no longer completely viewed as a foriegner, opening up possibiblities of sex.

So...If the Adem are indeed a diff/parralell species to 'mortals' who mostly only breed with their own, their genes/way of conception would still be predominant, but it would not necessariy rule out interbreeding with other 'species'.

Unless the male Adem are mules. ;) Perhaps their were never any male Adem, only women who had to breed outside, only the women being fertile.

Or maybe they have sperm storing sacks... 0_O

(gonna stop now before I lose all sight of the box....)
images10dream
70. master
Regarding the training when jurneying to ademre I'd say that most of what kvothe does isn't very realistic. He learns trades that would take an apprentice years to learn in a few months . he became a fighter good enough to fight most non-adem in a few months as well.

Not to mention the fact that he is pretty good at most things. he's an excelent muscisian, sympathist, actor, etc. His maths is good enough for sympathy and artifice. He speaks four languages.

When looking at all the evidence. His training sessions don't seem that unrealistic.
thistle pong
71. thistlepong
@65
1.
Selitos stooped to pick up a jagged shard of mountain glass, pointed at one end.

“No. By the weight of it, perhaps something made of glass or stone.”
This is the best reason why it’s more likely. Next would be the oddity of the Lockless line protecting a key. And as @67 Aesculpius notes, it's the thing we have the most textual evidence for.

Then there’s the box. First, the rhinna tree. Then, the Loeclos. Thus, the link.
It was like smoke and spice and leather and lemon.

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.
3.
I think it would be boring for Rothfuss to articulate a whole new reason that the stone would be significant. The stone was mentioned once in previous books, which means he'd need to spend lots of time discussing it and explaining its importance. I don't like the "ancient artifact" trope very much.
I yield. If “Lanre Turned” isn’t significant in your reading, then we’ve no common ground. However:
He cast the stone at Lanre’s feet and said, “By the power of my own blood I bind you. By your own name let you be accursed.”
and
It has become precious because it is old
The Loeclos is at least three millennia old. @67 Aesculapius notes correctly that whatever’s in there is ancient in any case. The very stone that hamed Alaxel and foreswore his name is tidy. It’d also be wickedly funny if Alveron lead Kvothe to Meluan and Kvothe opened the Loeclos ‘cause they were all curious, and that released the Cthaeh who is also the founder of the Amyr.
“Stick by the Maer and he will lead you to their door.” The Cthaeh gave a thin, dry chuckle. “Blood, bracken, and bone, I wish you creatures had the wit to appreciate me. Whatever else you might forget, remember what I just said. Eventually you’ll get the joke. I guarantee. You’ll laugh when the time comes.”
4.
What’s contradicting what now? Honestly I can’t figure that out and I’d appreciate any clarification that would help me address your concern.

The Amyr are jerks. The original mission statement was to confound the plots of Lanre and his Chandrian. This they called the greater good, and vowed to let nothing stand in their way. Stalking and trolling as a profession. The latter day Amyr racked up a long list of excesses.

Tehlu & Pals supposedly had a different remit. But Trapis’s story from The Book from the Path described a being who was intent on beating everyone into submission whether they chose his path or not. And ended up running to ground an Alaxel-analogue.

However, it’s in association that they become truly despicable. The Tehlin Church and it’s militant Amyr ground most of the known world beneath their boots via the expansion of the Aturan empire. within this context they burned folks with a hint of power, cleared the roads of Tinkers and Ruh, razed centers of ancient learning, outlawed magic, demonized the fae, erased histories, and imposed their language, law, and dogma.

As for the Selitos/Cthaeh/Rhinna/Loeclos notion explaining why, it’s just a small step forward. We still have no idea what the purpose of the Seven is. But we have some solid evidence, mentioned above, of the Tehlin mission in the Mortal and the actions of the Amyr. The Four Corners are ignorant, backward and seriously lacking in unified force of arms as well as competent magic users. They can never attack Faen again if by some extraordinary happenstance they decide it’s even real.

Which, of course, might suggest the Seven apologists really have something there.
The Chandrian move from place to place, But they never leave a trace.
They hold their secrets very tight, But they never scratch and they never bite.
They never fight and they never fuss. In fact they are quite nice to us.
They come and they go in the blink of an eye, Like a bright bolt of lightning out of the sky.
Rob Munnelly
72. RobMRobM
Jo @40 - the problem many are having with your analysis may be boiled down to one question -where is the textual evidence that Losi was "in love" with K and heartbroken at his departure, versus having the voluntary, pleasurable roll in the hay she wanted with K before Felurian? I'm not seeing it.

@65, 67. I'm confused about what the argument is re the box. My current belief (subject to change) is that is a glass block engraved with the true name of one of the ancients, likely the husband of a Loeclos ancestor. I'll let the multitudes figure out which one it likely is. If your argument is that is is the shard that blinded Selitos, that's interesting but why does it need to be locked away in the box? I'm not getting why that has special power - in contrast to the name hypothesis.

Rob
images10dream
73. master
The thing with the lackless box is that it can't be opened. This means that it is protecting something very valuable. The problem is that if it is protecting something valuable why havent the factions tried to take it. It probably that someone is protecting them. Probably the amyr.

What is in the box would depend on which side gave it to the lackless'ss ancestors. If it was Iaxes faction it would probably be the name of the moon.

Though I think its probably the amyr. I'm guessing it would be the key to something very valuable. If I had to guess it would probably be a prison.

The chandrian to me seem second rate players. They were formed after the wars end with most of the enemy defeated.

Maybe their goal is to restart the war, the main problem is that they are too busy hiding from the singers , the sithe and the amyr.

In order to restart the war they'd need to open the prison. The problem is the key for the prison is in the box and the box is being protected by whoever the lacklessess guardians are. The "misfortune" that has befallen the lacklessess are probably plots by the chandrian to retake the box.

If I had to say where the prison is I'd guess the four plate door at the university. Though I'm not certain becuase there has been no indication that the masters know anything besides the ctheath telling kvothe that they might know something. Though I guess a bunch of them may be working for the amyr, lorren, maybe elodin.
images10dream
74. Wiggum
This is my first post, and I'm just throwing this out there as an idea (I can't say I'm particularly wedded to it). But why are we so sure that Chronicler is a good guy?

Is it not at least possible that Chronicler is himself either a Chandrian, a tool of the Ctheah, or given this new timeframe, the Ctheah itself?

(Or even Iax?!)

If a Chandrian, could it be that Chronicler is Cyphus? Cyphus itself is a word strongly suggestive of "Cypher", and Chronicler writes using a cipher. He is also very much a "no one special" sort of character, which we the audience tend to dismiss as just being "the guy who's there to hear the story". It's also worth noting that in the frame-within-a-frame story allegedly recounted by Marten, Taborlin The Great (who has obvious parrallels with Kvothe) is at the mercy of King Scyphus. He's effectively been captured and his weapons are all locked up in a chest (this seems to strongly parrallel Kvothe's situation in the Waystone). But Taborlin turns the situation on its head and kills Scyphus (or at least Scyphus's guards - I'm never very clear on what becomes of Scyphus at the end of that story).

If Chronicler is the Ctheah, or its tool, is it coincidence that there seems to be so much Roah wood knocking around the house, and the Ctheah was trapped in a tree that sounds an awful lot like it was a Roah (although that hasn't been 100% confirmed in the story, just strongly implied)?

There's nothing really in Chronicler's behavior to make him seem like a bad guy, and no overt suggestions that he might be. But there are a couple of things that make me go hmmm.

First, there is the nature of the Kingkiller Chronicle itself. It's a story all about stories. It's also a fantasy story that's literally a story about, and a deconstruction of, the nature of fantasy. And what is Chronicler? He's not a fantasist, and he's not a storyteller. He's a biographer.

He is literally the guy who destroys myths and "writes" the truth. Chronicler "creates" the truth. We have, as readers, accepted as fact that there are no dragons in this story. At first, this makes sense, because dragons are a silly and impossible idea. But then when we look at the nature of the 4c world, which is perhaps, as it transpires, one of the most fantastical worlds ever written...

Why the hell DOESN'T it have dragons?

It doesn't have dragons because one man proved, in writing, that dragons don't exist. That dragons are actually a slightly rubbish creature called a Draccus.

And so, we surmise, Lanre never actually fought a dragon because dragons only exist in stories. Even though it sounds an awful lot like Lanre fought a thing that sounds like a proper dragon.

But then we get a comment from Denna about a kind of magic that involves making things true by writing them down. Hmmm.

Did dragons really never exist, or did Chronicler make them not exist by writing it down? It's almost the first thing we hear about Chronicler - he wrote The Mating Habbits of the Common Draccus and proved dragons don't exist.

And here he is, writing down the "true" story of Kvothe. And as he writes it down in his cipher, Kvothe seemingly gets less and less magical.

But ... the only parts of Kvothe's story (and note that it's a story as he tells it and NOT a biography) that could be corroborated are the parts that he skips over. Note also that Kvothe is only ever "rubbish" when Chronicler is around. And the one time that Chronicler was phyisically "there" for Kvothe being Kvothe was when he was ... unaccountably ... rendered unconscious through misfortune, and Kvothe really NEEDED to be himself or die.

And remember the story of Sceop? It is important that the Amyr lives to do what he must, even if it means those around him must die. Which saddens the Amyr, but is what must be.

K feels guilt at the deaths in the Waystone that "he could have prevented".

Is Kvothe just ensuring that nothing "factual" about him gets written down? And is he acting out the repercussions of having given factual information about himself to Chronicler?

Another thing to remember is that we don't know what Shaping is. Shaping kind of makes me think of writing - the process of constructing "Names" into sentences. Were Shapers writers? Is Chronicler a Shaper, and is what he's doing (if this house of cards post has any basis in reality whatsoever) Shaping? Could he be Iax, come to finish off Kvothe?

The idea that there's a meta-narrative at work here, of "fantasy fiction" and "fantasy writers" versus "reality fiction" and "factual writers" really fits for me. It's myth and mystery versus those that would destroy it. It's those who would want reality to be fluid and mutable (Kvothe) verus those that want it to be fixed and known (Chronicler).

It's worth mentioning, too, that first-person Kvothe (ie, Story Kvothe), isn't really all that great at the Ketan, or at Adem fighting in general. He gets beaten up by an admittedly very talented 12 year old, but a 12 year old nonetheless. And yet Reality Kvothe, when Chronicler isn't around, can do "a single perfect step". The only character even amongst the Adem we've seen capable of taking a Single Perfect Step is Shehyn. None of the others, no matter how good they might be, is described doing this. And whenever she does it, there's an implication that it's the ultimate - others are described doing what they do in a whirl of motion. But she is all stillness and a minimum of motion.

The single perfect step seems to be the ultimate expression of her technique, and of her perfection.

Is the implication of all this that Kvothe is, in fact, an unreliable narrator because he's a hell of a lot better than he's claiming to be? It fits very neatly with "The Beautiful Game" motif.

As I say, I'm not really wedded to this at all. It's just something that occurred to me (literally on Thursday night) and has just kind of written itself since. I can see several flaws (Lochees/Loeclos being one). Although, if Chronicler is actually evil, and possibly the real "Big Bad", it adds a totally different slant to Chronicler's advice to Bast at the end of WMF. And also to all Bast's rantings that "you have no idea who I am."

He's right, but we also have no idea who the hell Devan Lochees really is, either.
images10dream
75. JohnPoint
Wiggum @74 -- interesting idea. Certainly worth developing more.

Though I don't know who it will be (Chronicler, Selitos, etc.) I will be very surprised if we DON'T have someone who turns out to be very different from who we expected them to be. I really don't think this a a simple, Amyr = good, Chandrian = bad story, for two main reasons:

1) That's not how the world really works. Things aren't black/white. Rather, to restate the old chestnut, they're shades of gray. Granted, this is fantasy, but I get the feeling that Pat wants us to see parallels to the real world.

2) Playing with our expectations of right/wrong, and contradicting heroes and villains seems to be a theme of Pat's. Has anyone else read The Princess and Mr. Whiffle? (slight spoiler alert: Monsters aren't always monsters, and story protagonists aren't always good/innocent.)

So anyway, if the Chandrian end up being "good," or Selitos ends up being the Chteah, or Chronicler ends up being Iax, or... whatever... it won't surprise me too much.
Bruce Wilson
76. Aesculapius
The great thing about this series is that there are clearly portents of things to come, stories within stories and meanings within meanings — and yet, speculate as we might, we're just gonna have to wait for D3 to find out where Pat is really going with all of this.!

A little while back someone (sorry, I've forgotten whom it was) pointed out just how lucky we are to be here during the hiatus before D3 is published — so that we can indulge in all this discussion and speculation whilst genuinely having no idea what the conclusion of the tale will bring. It's a very privileged position in which to be.

In many ways, I think I'd actually be rather disappointed if we managed to guess correctly. In truth, no matter how pleasant it might be smugly to say "a-ha, I spotted that," what I truly want from D3 are things that catch out all of us and force us to go back and look again at the first two volumes.
images10dream
77. AnotherAndrew
Regarding the seven words, two things:

First, in my copy it says 'she loved me for them and her pride was safe'. This to me very strongly suggests the sense of 'she appreciated me, I made her happy' rather than 'she fell in love with me'. Are other people's copies different? I know what Jo has is an ARC, so I wonder if it was changed after that to make it less ambiguous.

Second, if we suppose that what Elodin says is strictly and literally true, and there are seven words that can make a woman fall in love with you, and they operate in a magical way, then they are a specific seven words, and Kvothe doesn't know what they are. If a man could make a woman love him by saying any seven words the world would be a very different place. So if Kvothe is working magic, he doesn't know he is.

Regarding parthenogenesis: I found Penthe's arguments quite convincing, and am inclined to conclude that sex is indeed not connected with childbirth. Nevertheless, after centuries of experience, humanity at large has judged otherwise. And if it is so here, it is probably so in Ademre as well. Penthe's arguments work just as well, or as badly, anywhere.

Regarding sex with barabarians: I thought it was actually said at one point that this did not happen. Nevertheless I am doubtful; we see Tempi at one point chatting up a waitress, apparently successfully; (and mumble mumble Simmon mumble mumble).
images10dream
79. mr. awesome
I'm still not very convinced because there's no reason that a piece of glass would be important.

Also, what is "mountain" glass? How does it differ from different glass?

Also it's pretty cool that they had glass back then.
images10dream
80. mr. awesome
**Sorry, that should read: "there's no stated reason that a piece of glass would be important". And I actually think I should elaborate my position a little bit more, because after looking it over that last comment is inadequate.

I think we can extrapolate one, but I don't like that very much. I think it's a stretch to say that the piece of glass would retain its magical significance over time, given everything that we know about magic so far.

It was used once, in my opinion, and that was permanent.

And what would Kvothe do with the glass that would move the story forward? Somehow break the enchantment that Selitos put down? Because that sounds unlikely.

The consequence of interacting with the glass would also not move the story forward - it would just free Haliax from his curse and he'd kill himself which would move the story backwards into an anticlimax away from the K vs. Chandrian tension that's been happening.

"Something glass" was inside the box based on Kvothe shaking it around without seeing it is not enough evidence for us to operate as though it is that specific stone. Even if I conceded that it's more likely to be the stone than anything else in mind, we have so little evidence that I don't think it's worthwhile to discuss this issue.

And why do you keep acting as though Selitos bound the Cthaeh??? I think you need to read those scenes a bit more carefully. And the Cthaeh has no connection to the Amyr, and the true Amyr weren't evil, the Tehlin church was. And the Cthaeh has only an ambiguous and tenuous connection to Tehlu (probably through Ecanis who is probably Haliax), and Tehlu was almost certainly a good guy. And none of this has anything to do with the rock. The rock is worse than useless for the story.
Katy Maziarz
81. ArtfulMagpie
"Also, what is "mountain" glass? How does it differ from different glass?

Also it's pretty cool that they had glass back then."

Mountain glass is mostly likely a volcanic glass stone like obsidian, as opposed to any sort of human-made, manufactured silcate glass.

(Also, even in our own world, glass has been known to and made by humans for many thousands of years, so they probably DID have manufactured glass back then in FC land, too.)


"The consequence of interacting with the glass would also not move the story forward - it would just free Haliax from his curse and he'd kill himself which would move the story backwards into an anticlimax away from the K vs. Chandrian tension that's been happening."

Selitos's curse is not what keeps Haliax from killing himself. He was already cursed with that because of his quest to bring Lyra back to life. Selitos told Haliax he couldn't kill him, not for good. Selitos then broke the enchantment upon himself by putting out his own eye, then cast the bloody stone at Haliax's feet and cursed Haliax to be ever held in shadow, and also said, "Your own name will be turned against you, that you shall have no peace." So, Selitos's blood on the stone bound the shadows about Haliax's face, and also--something about his own name tormenting him. Hmm. I wonder WHICH name? Lanre? Or Haliax? Or something else altogether--a deeper Name we don't know yet?
David C
82. David_C
Regarding Elodin's seven words:

I believe that Elodin was being reasonably literal in saying that there are seven words that will make a person love you. However, were Elodin in this world, I don't think that he would change his statement. It's a kind of butterfly-effect statement. All that you need to do is see clearly the world around you; all that you need to do is look deeply into the heart of the person who may come to love you; all that you need to do is care deeply enough, and the words will flow naturally from your sleeping mind.

I think that Elodin is not talking abracadabra; he's talking about being centred in the moment, and observing, and how that relates to the act of language. (Anyone read Mieville's EmbassyTown?) In my view of the story, this is an essential, but not sufficient, part of naming.

I think that Kvothe, post-Felurian, has started to get a small handle on that. The innkeeper and Losi are perceptive enough to see that Kvothe has really changed, and when Losi asks whether Felurian is more beautiful, Kvothe is grounded enough to see Losi rather than his fear of being embarrassed by Losi, and gives her a genuine answer, or at least as genuine as he can come up with on the spot. I think that it is his sleeping mind that gives it to him in seven words.

I don't think that it's spellcasting. Whether it is magic depends on your view of the human condition.
David C
83. David_C
Wiggum@74:

I think that Chronicler may just be Chronicler, although I agree it is worth examining Chronicler's agenda. I believe that the flip-side is also important. I read K as having decided to tell his story in part specifically because it keeps Chronicler anchored at the Waystone Inn for three days.

Whether K knows exactly what is going to happen in three days, or whether he has decided to hope that three days is enough and throw a Hail Mary pass isn't so clear to me.
thistle pong
84. thistlepong



So as Kvothe was walking forelornly away from Felurian, I remembered this:
‘Felurian! What have I done? The adulation of my peers below has been a waste of hours. Could I recall the moments I have careless cast away, I could but hope to spend them in a wiser way, and warm myself in light that rivals light of day.’
(Daeonica, Act III)
Which may not have any relevance, but suggests that (in the play) Tarsus also visited Felurian and failed to return to her. But it had some bearing on the question of how her legend spread. She also rattled off a long list of potential gifts before settling on the Shaed for Kvothe, so perhaps she'd let a few other special folks loose as well.
images10dream
85. JohnPoint
mr. awesome @80: the two main reasons that I think Selitos' eye-gouging stome could be important are these:

1) Selitos' blood is on the stone. The same blood that bound Haliax to shadow and allowed the curse that Selitos placed on him. Selitos was able to bind Haliax so that he can't use his entire power, and his blood provided the link/binding/power/whatever to do that. If there are still traces of this blood on the stone, that blood still could retains its power over Haliax. We have repeatedly seen the power of blood in the series: mommets, grams, the whole issue with Kvothe using his blood to secure his loan to Devi, etc. Kvothe getting ahold of the binding that originally bound Haliax... that could be very potent and relevant indeed.

2) There is a chance -- just a chance, but an interesting speculation -- that Selitos is still alive, and perhaps is the Ctheah, as thistlepong argued @33. If that's the case, Selitos' blood on the stone becomes even more important -- the stone (and blood) is trapped in the Rhinna-wood box, and the Ctheah is trapped in the Rhinna tree. If true, is it a coincidence? I doubt it strongly. Once again, this could be very germaine to the story, and would provide really intriguing plot details.

Finally, as I mentioned before, if this is a simple good vs. evil tale, I'll be incredibly surprised -- and personally think THAT would be boorish. The world (and, I believe, the 4Cs) doesn't work that way.
Ian B
86. Greyfalconway
@85

Wow I didn't make that connection but that would be a really great fit, Selitos being the Ctheah would add a bit to the 'there were never any human Amyr' and Selitos having his blood on the stone/glass inside a box made from the tree that the Ctheah is bound to is a really great smartly done binding and twist, since we've been set up so well to understand every part of the process that would be involved and the magic making it happen.

Also it would add alot to whatever the badness Kvothe has done, if Kvothe opens the box and releases the stone with the Ctheahs blood, the Ctheah would be released from the tree and could roam and wreak havoc on the land, and we've already been set up by Bast discussing how theres nothing worse than the Ctheah.

This is the kind of smart stuff it seems like PR would do, considering the lackless rhyme and everything else, this makes alot of twisty but totally plausable sense, and we've been set up for it so well.
Philbert de Zwart
87. philbert
Actually:
"Looking more closely, I could easily see three of the four mercenaries were women."
So the starting ratio is 3:2 instead of 4:1.

Though I like the Adem as frogs theory, it doesn't pass Occam's Razor. Simpler explanations have been given (re: bodyfat and lack of sex while in barbarian lands).
The counting of appearing women vs. men is poor evidence: women are in higher standing in the Adem society than men and Kvothe is a clear and serious threat to their way of living. Therefore it stands to reason that he is dealt with by the Adem's top echelon, which consists entirely of women. So the appearance in this story is skewed towards women, regardless of the actual sex ratio of the Adem society.
thistle pong
88. thistlepong
@85 thanks for clarifying that. My posts took the blood and vitreous for granted, which might have been confusing.

@80 Selitos didn't bind the Cthaeh, but based on the textual evidence he probably is the Cthaeh. Most of the other notions about the contents of the Loeclos and the identity of the Cthaeh are unsupported; clever guesses with no evidence in the text. Mine might be wrong, but it's sound inference based on information from within the story.

Folks hereabouts have hypothesized a “cold war” following the cessation of open hostilities between Faen and the Mortal precipitated by the Blac of Drossen Tor and reified by the betrayal of Myr Tariniel.

Taking the obsidian Selitos used to gore himself and bind Alaxel to return the favor fits nicely in to that framework. The age of the Loeclos seemed arbitrary until this idea came up. Now it might mark the removal of a major player allowing mortal civilization to get a toehold.

I know that's a weird idea. Everyone takes the Amyr to be "good" and the Seven to be "bad" and it's difficult to shake that. But there's textual evidence for a more complex, even oppositional, reading, too. Kvothe heard exactly one story about Selitos and Myr Tariniel. Denna claims to have been all over the world piecing the narrative together. If anything, that suggests she put more effort into her version. By analogy, Harold Bloom's interpretation of Shakespeare's Hamlet is more reputable than my sixteen year old cousin's. In her version, MT wasn't so great and Selitos worse still. The actual stories about Tehlu show him to be cruel and tyranical as well, regardless of whether folks call him angel or anything else.

What's interesting to me is that this can all be true without it ever being said. Kvothe doesn't have to explicitly state any of it. Just like what we've gotten so far is terribly interesting to analyze and play with, a few more nested stories within D3 could leave the hints that fill in these blanks. Kvothe's story could move forward with these nested tales as an organic part of the Chronicle leaving us to make the meaning.
George Brell
89. gbrell
@3.sillyslovene:

Tempi said he is trained to have control over his desires, but he would have gone if Kvothe hadn’t." - because from what we will see in Adem, yes there is a lot of control instilled in them in a lot of areas- but not seemingly with regard to sexuality, and isn't the pull of the men described as purely sexual towards Felurian? If normal Adem society is what K describes, with his teacher having sex with him simply because she notices that he is aroused- how, how, does Tempi have any type of resistance to Felurian? Does the Lethani not apply in sexuality?

Tempi's exact statement was:
"'When I was growing, I train to have control.' He held up a hand and made a tight fist to illustrate his point. 'Hurt. Hungry. Thirsty. Tired.' He shook his fist after each of these to show his mastery over it. 'Women.' The faintest of smiles touched his face and he shook his fist again, but with none of the firmness he had used before."

After Kvothe collapses, Tempi says, "You showed your mind is stronger than your body. That is good. When the mind controls the body, that is of the Lethani."

I read this line as saying that Tempi's training and study of the Lethani had conditioned his will. His humble joke suggests that his lifetime of training only let him resist Felurian for moments.

If the Adem had no control regarding sex, I'd expect rape to be more common. Yet nothing in Ademic culture suggests that rape is prevalent. Indeed, given the matriarchal society and the extreme xenophobia, the penalty for rape would likely be banishment.

Kvothe's own experiences with the Adem suggest that the social mores surrounding intercourse are diminished or nonexistent; it doesn't suggest that the Adem copulate continually or without regards for emotional or social connections. Kvothe's relationship with Vashet suggests that the connection between pupil and teacher is incredibly close, perhaps as close or closer than lovers or friends.

Oddly, the text never discusses whether "sex play" occurs outside of love-bonds. (I originally used the term familial bonds, but I'm not even sure if males are involved in Ademic families outside of as children/brothers/uncles.) We know sex has less social consequences than in the 4C world, but not much else. Based on Vashet's comments, I'd be surprised if love-pairs were fidelious to one another.

@14.shalter:

I'm voting on the side of the parthenogenesis theory for two reasons. 1) The Adem don't seem dense enough not to have worked out how their reproduction works and so I am inclined to take their word on it. 2) It is a way cool piece of the story if that is how it works and another implication that there are lots of things going on in the depths of 4C history that we don't understand.

@77.AnotherAndrew:

Regarding parthenogenesis: I found Penthe's arguments quite convincing, and am inclined to conclude that sex is indeed not connected with childbirth. Nevertheless, after centuries of experience, humanity at large has judged otherwise. And if it is so here, it is probably so in Ademre as well. Penthe's arguments work just as well, or as badly, anywhere.

Unfortunately, Penthe's arguments are bad ones.

Kvothe thinks that he committed "a fallacy of analogy. . . . faulty logic."

While analogy is an inferential logical process, proper analogies are not automatically fallacious (only weak analogy or false analogy). The strength of the argument is in relation to the relatedness of the shared characteristics of the analogous pairs to the inferred characteristic.

Here, cats mate in the same manner as humans, gestate young similarly, give birth in a similar manner and feed them in a similar manner. Since all these are related to the creation of young, it is inferential to assume that they would create young in the same way. This isn't a weak/false analogy.

Penthe doesn't actually concede that kittens are born in a sexual manner, so this doesn't get us all the way home, but her counter-arguments aren't strong ones, they're just denials.

With regards to cultural blindness, we can point out that people believed the earth was flat and that the earth was the center of the universe long after evidence was available to counter both those beliefs.

@43.bluejo:

Kah-thurak -- the theory is that they can either conceive "normally" sexually, or parthenogenetically, in which case the child will be female and a clone of the mother. If this is the case, as it is with some frogs, you get a 65% female to male ratio.

The percentage would actually depend on the frequency of parthenogenesis relative to normal conception. I don't feel we, at the moment, have enough information to determine a percentage that we should see. All I can agree with is that the percentage should be greater than 50% and that the further it is from 50%, the more likely parthenogenesis is.

For me, I think it's a poor theory, but am willing to consider contrary evidence. Also Jo, a number of posts ago I did a counting of how many male vs. female Adem we saw, focusing mainly on the Shehyn/Penthe duel scene (it wasn't comprehensive, but might be helpful).

@82.David_C:

I think you've summarized my beliefs regarding the Seven Words.
images10dream
90. master
Regarding adem reproduction.

I think its just a cultural quirk.There is not much evidence to indicate that it is true. Yet there is more evidence that the isnt.

1. the adem don't have a perfect knowledge of medicine. Noone does. not to mention the fact that they head down to the tahl to cure themselves of STDs. Its possible they havent done much research into this field.

2. they are very open about sec while in ademre. and they don't have sex outside of it. and since the women don't suddenly fall pregnant while on mercenary work, this suggests that it only happens while they are in their homeland. where its commone to see them f.... everything that moves . and since babies are concieved while having sex, maybe they don't realise the cuase.

3. doctors a few centuries ago didn't realise the idea of the humours was a load of crap. It was common to think that women influenced gender. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. Why should ademic medicine be right about everything.
Steven Halter
91. stevenhalter
thistlepong@88:Selitos being the Cthaeh is an interesting idea, but I tend to go with the Cthaeh existing prior to the Selitos events. If Iax spoke to the Cthaeh before stealing the moon, that would place the Cthaeh prior to the Selitos events.
John Haley
92. Ghrakmaxus
Hi all...lurker here! New to the thread as I have spent the last couple of days reading these and find the speculation fun! I did want to point out one or thing that has bothered me about some of the speculation:
Selitos = founded the Amyr. WMF mentions in the "second day of Skarpi stories" that Selitos told Aleph "I must refuse, for I cannot forget...We will be called the Amyr in memory of the ruined city. We will confound Lanre and any who follow him. Nothing will prevent..."
You get the picture. Later in the same story: "They came to Aleph, and he touched them. He touched their hands and eyes and hearts. The last time he touched them there was pain, and wings tore from their backs..." more "Then the fire settled on their foreheads like SILVER STARS and they became at once righteous and wise and terrible to behold...and they were gone forever from mortal sight"
This implies that the Amyr had been founded by Selitos. Tehlu and his angles are the winged beings (Angles anyone?) who cannot be seen by anyone but the most powerful. (The reason Haliax and the 7 look to the sky before they skeedadle)
So, Selitos cannot be the CTH if Skarpi is to be believed. I believe Skarpi is a namer because he was able to "name" Kvothe without having met him previously, by the way.
I capatalized the mention of silver star, because that is with Kvothe saw reflected in Felurian's eyes, when he subdued her.
Just my two copper pieces at present...will add more as I read more of your conjecture.
thistle pong
93. thistlepong
@91 I'll admit #31 rambled a bit, but I believe I addressed that.

I'll try to be more precise.

Definition of terms:
"Lanre Turned" - Skarpi's first story (ch title)
"Tehlu's Watchful Eye" - Skarpi's second incomplete story (ch title)
"The Boy Who Loved the Moon" - Hespe's story
"The Seven Sorrows" - Denna's song

Concern:
First, what we tend to think, or go with, or whatever, often comes from inside us, a feeling we get or an idea we become invested in. New ideas don't even have to contradict cherished notions to grate against them in uncomfortable ways. To whit, the notion that Selitos cannot be the Cthaeh, despite textual evidence, because the Cthaeh must have existed prior to "Lanre Turned" and "Tehlu's Watchful Eye." All it really requires is the same morphological process that moved Ferule to Cinder.

Explanation:
"The Boy Who Loved the Moon" almost certainly relates the events leading up to the Creation War. Jax appears to be analogous to Felurian's "shaper of the dark and changing eye" who is in turn named by Bast: Iax.

Iax and Selitos are contemporaries in "Lanre Turned," existing at the same time. And Selitos is probably the more accomplished of the two.
Selitos was the most powerful namer of anyone alive in that age.
but
Selitos knew that in all the world there were only three people who could match his skill in names: Aleph, Iax, and Lyra.
(match: to encounter successfully as an antagonist, to provide with a worthy competitor)
You're right to wonder where the Cthaeh comes from and when it was bound to the rhinna tree. In this interpretation, that binding occurred with the creation of the Loeclos Box; which the text puts around three thousand years ago. Keeping in mind that it's a Lockless family relic, and the Meluan concurs with Kvothe, it's likely more accurate than his guess regarding Saicere.

That leaves its origins unexplained and its theater undefined prior to that. Consider the following a companion to #31.

In "The Boy Who Loved the Moon, " Jax climbs high into the mountains and meets the hermit. Looking back, a few folks suspected this figure as the Cthaeh. Selitos also resided high in the mountains:
sat among the tall mountains of the world like a gem on the crown of a king.
Hespe's tale humbles its subject and gives it the feeling of a fairytale, but it's no leap at all to imagine Iax consulting the most powerful namer alive. A little manipulation or misunderstanding, the trademarks of the Cthaeh, and he steals the moon.


These are your words:
I picture the Ctheah as being the one causing the Shaper/Namer war and probably interfering on both sides. The game is more beautiful by getting everyone else to do the dirty pieces for you (or so the Ctheah might think.)
I'm in provisional agreement. I'm just calling him Selitos. Iax steals the moon and takes the fall. Lanre recruits the Chandrian and orchestrates the betrayal. Keep in mind that the seven cities relied on Lanre, and one is spared. Lanre discovers his error, likely via whatever empowers him, at the eleventh hour and marches on Selitos, who's tricked in both "Lanre Turned" and "The Seven Sorrows." Bitter, Selitos curses Lanre's name and face, erasing Lanre's identity and eliminating his story. I think this bears repeating. He says:
You have beaten me once through guile, but never again. Now I see truer than before and my power is upon me.
See #31 for more detail, but better sight for Selitos is right in line with near oracular vision. He retains his autonomy in "Tehlu's Watchful Eye" and vows to pursue and confound Lanre.

Except maybe he failed to clean up after himself. Kvothe burns his blood and hair, but he messed up once, too. Which leads us back to the only significant stone that is also glass in the Chronicle and the text quoted in #71. The only missing bit is how Selitos was Lured to the Tree.

Finally, it might be valuable to address the acts attributed to the Cthaeh. Bast says:
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.
This is either a list of spectacular failures on the part of the Sithe, whose "oldest and most important charge is to keep the Cthaeh from having any contact with anyone," or the identity and nature of the Cthaeh hasn't alway been clear. He existed. He was bound. The Sithe were charged.
John Haley
94. Ghrakmaxus
The Ctheah is female...it has blooms/flowers if Kvothe can be believed when he mentions it in the text of his description of the Ctheah. Selitos is male. Lyra is female...and Selitos named those that were his equal at naming, Lyra being among them. Also, if Lanre wasn't his equal before, he certainly was after catching and holding Selitos. These things alone would discount Selitos as being the Ctheah or having been transformed into the Ctheah.
images10dream
95. Zolt
@94
The CTH isn't the tree. It's just imprisoned in it. The Selitos = CTH theory certainly doesn't have enough evidence to prove it, but neither do we have anything to firmly discount it a the time.

Also, flowers can be either gender, or hermaphrodite. Thus your whole argument is defeated.
images10dream
96. Zolt
@74:
Fascinating idea about Chronicler being a bad guy, it's food for thought.
But ultimately, as an Author Avatar, he enjoys the same kind of plot protection Manet does - and he'll probably meet a nice girl before the end of the story too.

Then again, see below. I'm not so sure at all about Skarpi.

Silphium: Fantastic find about the link with Ferula!

It might be a coincidence, and then again, it might not be. PR is definitely twisted enough for it not to be.

The name silphium tickled at my memory but it's only when I read the wiki article that I realised where I'd seen it before: In Lindsey Davis's most excellent Didius Falco novels. Completely unrelated but a must-read nontheless.

Interestingly - although it was historically used as a contraceptive, it works on estrogen levels, and therefore has no use at all as a male contraceptive. Along with Arrowroot, that might be another example of Kvothe getting his herb-lore wrong.

I foresee that because of this, Vashet or Penthe will give birth to a little redhead, who will become a figurehead for disgruntled Adem men seeking to prove the man-mother thingy, and eventually lead to the collaplse of Adem society. Hence Maedre = the broken tree, the tree being the Adem. Very neat, PR!

Also interesting, from the wiki: Prometheus smuggled fire to humanity by hiding it in a ferula. Stop it, Rothfuss! You will drive me *nuts* will possibilities.

About the Losi episode:
I think Jo is being deliberately provocative with her vision of Kvothe as a self-centered antihero, and although her judgement seems excessively harsh to me, she does have a couple points. Kvothe is, after all, exceedingly manipulative and self centered. A remnant from his years in Tarbean, perhaps, or from a lifetime spent being smarter than everyone else.

The fact that he's so focused on what he wants that he fails to see / care about what's right in front of him is a recurrent plot point, possibly even the central point in K's story. Other people see this too, although they give him the benefit of doubt. Lorren is one (although I'm pretty sure he has ulterior motives), Puppet is another, and I think when Elodin relents and lets Kvothe into his class, it is less because of his prowess at naming, and more because Kvothe shows that yes, after all, he is capable of genuinely caring for another human being.

Back on Selitos as the CTH:
That certainly would put the whole story in a different perspective. Regardless of Selitos himself, the paradigm it creates kind of makes sense. Selitos, Iax, Aleph, Lyra all sound like shapers, so that would put them on the *fae* side of the Creation war whereas the dark, unnamed enemy would be the regular mortals.

This *might* be another example of PR's evil, manipulative ways - he's set up the Scrael early on as a the dark, alien menace that looms upon the world. So when a few chapters later he gives us the story of MT and the 7 cities, our brain naturally casts the Scrael again as the enemy that threatens them. And we might just be dead *wrong*!

Our whole perception of the story hinges on just one thing, really: Who the hell is Skarpi?


One more thing, although it's certainly been posted before:
Early in TNOTW, Kvothe mentions 4 doors: sleep, forgetfulness, madness, death. Cue in description of a 4 plated "Valaritas" stone door.

Could the Doors of Stone be the doors of death, that the Shapers have sought to re-open. Then "shut them beyond the doors of stone" becomes an euphemism for "massacred them to the last".

Note that Haliax / Lanre is specifically denied 3 of these doors: He can't die, and he's "sleepless, sane". One doubts he gets to forget much either, that's the whole point of Selitos cursing him.

Think about it, if you were one of the Shapers of old, and could bend the very fabric of reality to your will, what would you make:
- A bright shining city, the like of which the world has never seen? Check.
- A new star in the sky named after you? Check.
- An ever-young, perfect and perfectly nymphomaniac pixie to "cavort" with all day? Check.
- A fruit that can heal all disesases, maybe even stop aging and make your eyes shine in the dark? Check.
- A device that allows you to see the future? Check.
- Steal the moon? Check.
- Bring back your loved ones from the dead? Check! Or at least they had to try.
And the Doors of Stone might be the tool that was shaped for that purpose. Maybe the "Valaritas" door at the university is the very door through which Lyra pulled Lanre back from the dead. Or maybe Lanre built these in his ill-fated attempt to save Lyra - and found something else instead.

Whew, enough for today! All the great ideas being thrown around this thread are making my head spin.
Bruce Wilson
97. Aesculapius
@77:

Yup, my kindle copy says the same. He compares her not unfavourably to the legendary, and otherwise incomparable, Felurian - and that's what she loved him for, and why her pride was safe. In addition, it's interesting to note that a page or so later, after he's finished telling (this version of!) the story, he comments that Losi seemed to have taken the whole thing as a challenge to the prowess of mortal women. His seven words are certainly massaging her ego a bit and K, fresh from the context of Felurian, is now much more self-aware and self-confident in his own newly-discovered sexuality. Losi, on the other hand seems pretty happy to pick up where she left off after her earlier failed attempt to seduce K. I also see the whole thing (his interaction with Losi pre- and post-Felurian) as a device by PR to portray the change in K.

Right at the end of the chapter, PR also has K directly address the apparent shortcomings of his analogy of women as musical instruments. I won't quote the whole paragraph (it's there to read) but essentially he says that this analogy is not as boorish as it might seem and that it has to be taken in the context of just how important to him and his very existence his music (and hence his instrument) really is. I know K is, at times, unreliable, rather selfish and lacking in foresight regarding consequences but, on balance, I'm inclined to take this at face-value. Overall, it may not reflect as well on his thinking as he would like but he seems to mean it in good faith.
Steven Halter
98. stevenhalter
thistlepong@93:Thanks for the clarification of your original post. I'm still not completely convinced of the Selitos==Cthaeh, but I do think it is a good theory to keep in mind.
Points at which I think we have some agreement:
Iax == Jax (obvious).
The hermit is possibly Selitos.
The Cthaeh may be the "Enemy" referred to in the stories.
Iax is currently behind the doors of stone.
Lanre == Haliax and probably Encanus.
The good guys and bad guys from the stories are probably not quite as cut and dried as the stories make them out and are probably reversed in multiple fashions.
Ashley Fox
99. A Fox
I am also not conviced by the CTH=Selitos. At all really.

The hermit from Hespes tale: You seem to have completely dismissed the notion that it was Teccam. Even in modern 4C's the image of Teccam teaching from a cave is well known. Legendary. Whist other aspects of the story can be percieved as representations (Broken house/Faen) to me a very rich man in a very powerful city seems the very oposite of a hermit in a cave, not a folk analogy of one. A king would be more acceptable, and indeed we have seen this applied to other powerful beings (such as the Chandrian) in a garbled story way.

Selitos & Amyr: He founds them, leads them in vengence. There is much history we encounter that charts the rise and (supoosed) fall of the Amyr. Clear evidence of his continued existance as Seltios...not some snake like thing bound to a tree.

This happnes after the CW, after Faen is 'sealed' the Sithes 'oldest charge' likely refers to time of the creation/sealing of Faen when it was relatively new.

We are given a rather amibigous timeline for the CTH during its entrapment which correlates with the rise of the Amyr, so seems unlikely they are the same. Note that the CTHs doing during this time seem centric to Fae, the nameless etc.

The Enemy. We see refs to the enemy several times. The Enemy at Drossen Tor-the black scaled, sinuous, dragon like being that Lanre defeats (Note a Tor is a circle of standing stones, gateways and the only circle we have seen is Faraniel (??? You know the story im ref, sorry if ive muddled up the name). IMO this is the CTH and when Lanre defeats it, reducing it to a much smaller state, he carries it beyound the doors of stone and into Faen, trapping it there. He dies in the process, Lyra revives him.

The Enemy is also described by felurian, and the Adem and seem to be referncing Iax. Dark and changing eye. Felurian does not seem to act as if the Enemy from her story and the CTH are the same person, yet I find it odd that this title is always used in conjuction with a specific time/person.

To me this indicates that either a) the CTH is an idependant being who, for whatever reason, fought of the side of Iax during the CW, or b) Iax i the CTH. He is a shaper, we tend to presume he takes a humanoid form, what if he shaped himself for battle?

But im not conviced by b either.

I rather think that the CTH is the CTH. He infected Iax, when Felurian is checking K for signs of infection she looks for a bite and checks his eyes. Iax is described as the dark and changing eye. Perhaps this is a sign of the infection. The black scaled being at Drossen Tor is described as surrounded by a darkness. Selitos looks in Lanres eyes and percieves the darkness then curses him to make it visable to all. (Some folks really need to reread the wording of that curse as they seem to have greatly misinterpet it). The CTH is described as a sinuous movement in its tree, reminiscent of the beast of Drossen Tor.

Perhaps this accounts for the confusion amognst who The Enemy is applied to. Perhaps CTH is the force behind it all (as we have speculated) but his involvement with Iax, or its exstent, was not fully apprciated/forgotten in the 4c's.

The main evidence for Selitos being the CTh seems to be his ability to see clearly, as quoted above. He does not, nor does anyone else, say that he can see the future. When he does say this it is in the context of seeing Lanre's corruption, the darkness within. It is also in the context of Knowing/Naming, his sleeping mind is very awake and clearly percieves the inner nature of what he sees. This is supported through out the book in what we learn of magic. It never even suggests that Selitos uses this power to see into the future, in fact the fact that he is tricked all but confirms he does not know what will come to pass.

I will point out that it strikes me that Selitos is rather deluded, his perception is very much coloured by his own beliefs, and later desire for vengence. No silver star on his forehead! In fact imo Selitos is also infected by the CTH.

WILD SPECULATION: The CTH form was once that of the black scaled giant dracus like being, Lanre partly defeated him, sealed him beyound the doors of stone, bound to a tree in Fae. Mating Habits of the Common Dracus. What if the present day draccus are devolved descendants of the CTH (like humans and S/K/Namers) and these act as conductors of info from the 4C? :D
Steven Halter
100. stevenhalter
A Fox@99:I had forgotten about Teccam--he's a good candidate for the hermit, but of course, who is Teccam exactly?
I don't think that the Doors of Stone lead to Fae, but to a third world. Fae is pretty easy to get out of--not a good attribute for a prison.
I like the theory that the black dragon was the Cthaeh who Lanre beats and binds to the tree. The stories don't mention any binding, just killing and so it's not definite but it has some attraction.
images10dream
101. Sapph
Re: The Seven Words.

We first learn of the seven words from Elodin, Master Namer. Furthermore, Elodin does not say "Do you know seven words ...", he says "Do you know THE seven words ..." This indicates that the seven words are not a contextual thing, but something fairly specific. Indeed, I think the only reasonable conclusion one can come to from that is that the seven words are the the Name of Love. If this is the case, we can be sure Kvothe hasn't used them.

1) Every act of Naming (or Singing) by Kvothe has be accompanied by a description of his mental state that lead to the Name being revealed to him. We see none of that at any point.

2) When the Chronicler speaks the name of iron, we hear "Iron". When someone speaks the name of Fire, we hear "Fire". The names of Wind and Stone sound like gibberish. The name of Felurian was a song. At no point, has a name sounded like a distinct phrase that would conversationally make sense in context.

3) If Kvothe knew them, and has been using them again and again on D, one would expect different behavior from her.

Therefore, I believe that - up until this point - the repitition of seven words that lead to love is nothing more than an in-joke between Kvothe and D, or a literary device by Kote, telling his story.
Katy Maziarz
102. ArtfulMagpie
I have a problem with the theory that the Enemy is the uberdraccus. (Well, two problems.)

Firstly, the text never actually equates the uberdraccus with the Enemy. It's like Lanre was fighting all a big mob of orcs and was tired and standing nearly alone and THEN the giant cave troll came out and he had to deal with it because no one else could and he killed the troll but the troll killed him back. That's how I read that scene--that the uberdraccus was just another weapon of the army, like an oliphant or a cave troll in LOTR--a terrible, powerful weapon, yes, but not necessarily THE ENEMY itself.

And secondly, the war continues for many years after Drossen Tor. Lanre's side won the battle of Drossen Tor, but if they had taken down The Enemy Himself, the war would have been over--maybe not all of the fighting, because they would have to do a clean-up job, dealing with the remnants of the other army, etc. But I do think they would have declared openly that the war was effectively won, rather than just saying that winning Drossen Tor had only "turned the tide of the war."
Bruce Wilson
103. Aesculapius
I've noticed a few posts above have equated the Creation War to mortal-vs.-fae, with the Chandrian perhaps attached to the fae side of that dichotomy. This is probably rather too simplistic, even given the somewhat limited source material available to us so, at the risk of re-treading some rather well-worn old ground from previous discussions I thought it might be worth re-visiting for a moment. I have drawn from Skarpi, Felurian, the Adem and a few other points in the story:

At some ancient time, deep in the past, there was no differentiation between "mortal" and "fae." Among the peoples were a few who had the skill and knowledge to achieve deep understanding of the world around them; Naming was an expression of this insight into the nature of the world and all things in it but, at its most fundamental, it was perhaps better thought of simply as Knowing.

There were those who wished to keep Knowing as a pure form and they came into conflict with a sub-group who wished to use their skills and knowledge to control and manipulate the world around them. They became known as Shapers.

There was no specific "mortal" realm and the Fae was the newly shaped plaything of some who wielded the greatest of power. The conflict between the Knowers and the Shapers had obviously become very intense — but there had been some hope of peace until the theft of the Moon by one of the leading Shapers. After this, there was open War — and the evidence from the Atas of Saicere suggests that it was a very protracted war, likely running into generations.

The war, effectively a great civil war, had raged across an entire civilisation and many cities had been lost until only a few remained. The surviving cities were protected by the skill and power of a few great leaders (Selitos, Lyra, Lanre...) but they were hard pressed. The Blac of Drossen Tor was the greatest of battles; the Enemy was cast out, the end of the war was in sight. Lanre, the defender, the great hero, had been slain but the love of his wife, Lyra, the great Namer, called him back from death. The war dragged on but the enemy forces were reduced and harried; things were looking brighter.

Then something went wrong. We have no clear picture of what this was. Lyra died and Lanre believed that her death was on his hands. Deceit and treachery were apparently part of this process but, ultimately, he blamed himself. His grief and despair were clear. Something had changed in him and in his eyes Selitos saw only emptiness. To him the dead of MT and the other cities are now "safe" from evils and pain. That they can not experience joy or wonder is irrelevant to him — but he remains adamant that he is not a monster who revels in destruction, rather he is lost in a hopeless nihilism; the world is like a mortally wounded friend who can be put beyond misery and pain if swiftly given a dose of poison. If the choice is between weeds and nothing then he will sow salt and have nothing.

Denna's version of the story differs from Skarpi's in terms of emphasis and attributed intent but the outcomes and the underlying purpose remain rather similar.

Something in the curse laid on Lanre by Selitos has, it would seem, constrained him as Haliax; has limited him in his ability to openly and aggressively pursue his purpose. In the aftermath of the War, the nature of the world seems to have changed; perhaps the Faen realm is now far less accessible than it once was and the knowledge of past generations certainly seems to have been lost from the 4Cs, at least.

The great question about the Chandrian is "what's their plan...?" When Cinder taunts the young K after the attack on the troupe, Haliax admonishes him, affirming that the Chandrian serve only his purpose; then he addresses Cinder and all the others:
You are too fond of your petty cruelties. All of you...
...You are straying, indulging in whimsy. Some of you have forgotten what it is we seek, what we wish to achieve. But you have my forgiveness. Perhaps if not for these remindings it would be I who would forget.


This is not absolute confirmation by any means but this statement from Haliax would seem to chime well with Lanre's original insistence that he was not a sadistic monster — what matters to him is his purpose, nothing more. And so is this the true purpose of the Chandrian? Not the victory of the Shapers over the Namers in the conclusion of some ancient and drawn-out cold war but rather a separate purpose of their own, specifically of Haliax: oblivion as an end in its own right.
thistle pong
104. thistlepong
@99 A Fox:
I'm not forgetting Teccam. I'm dismissing him. At best, the cave is as strong as the high mountains for a referent. I'll concede that. But Teccam isn't attributed anything else in common with the hermit. We get a peppering of folk wisdom from him and a stained glass window at the University. Identifying the hermit with Teccam is like positing that one, and only one, figure survived unchanged in popular representation through the 5500 years following the theft of the moon. Not impossible, but unfathomably unlikely.

The enemy (defeated, set/shut behind/beyond the doors of stone) is pretty generally believed to be Iax. I suppose that's fraught, but there's no definite textual evidence against it. The cards are pretty well stacked against him. Whomever the enemy is, he's probably not in Faen. So far we've seen no doors of stone there, and it's unlikely Felurian would use that terminology if Kvothe was able to just walk over for an open air chat. Ergo, it's not the Cthaeh. The theft of the moon sparked the Creation War. It stands to reason that the Mortal sought to stop the theif from causing any more damage. All arrows poin to Iax, defeated at and imprisoned after Drossen Tor.

The argument for Selitos rests on the contents of the Loeclos. So far, thanks to JohnPoint, we've had one speculation based on hard evidence from the text. That coupled with the previous revelation, again via textual evidence, about the material composition of the Loeclos leads inevitably to Selitos. One might want it to lead to Alaxel but we know he's free and active in the Mortal. The rest is examining corroborating clues.

"Lanre Turned" doesn't mention a "sinuous, dragon like being." Here's the quote:
At the very end of things, covered in blood amid a field of corpses, Lanre stood alone against a terrible foe. It was a great beast with scales of black iron, whose breath was a darkness that smothered men. Lanre fought the beast and killed it.
He then makes a suit of armor from it's scales. It didn't survive. But you're right, it does sound like a draccus.
Steven Halter
105. stevenhalter
thistlepong@104:Yeah, that pretty much rules out the Cthaeh as the beast at the battle.
My general thought is still that the Cthaeh is a seperate entity from Selitos. Not saying it is impossible that they are the same. My interpretation of the various stories just leads me in the seperate direction. It will be interesting which parts of all of this that D3 lends wieght to. I am guessing we won't get definite confirmation on many things.
Bruce Wilson
106. Aesculapius
Something whose "breath was a darkness which smothered men" — now *that* could conceivably be the Cthaeh...

But it doesn't really fit with much else in that particular story so I'll wander off again!

:o)
Bruce Wilson
107. Aesculapius
Ooooh.

I did have THIS thought though:


Lanre met the Cthaeh. There was deceit and betrayal. Lanre lost everything but blames himself. Lanre acquires immense power but takes a nihilistic nose-dive and betrays everything he once fought for — ultimately becoming Haliax. Why?

Lanre likely knows about the Cthaeh as oracle and seer of the futures. How do you truly avenge yourself upon something that allegedly knows all possible futures? How do you fulfil THAT purpose...?

You seek absolute oblivion.
George Brell
108. gbrell
@thistlepong:

I'll try and spin these thoughts out later, but I am also somewhat unconvinced by the Selitos = Cthaeh argument.

I think JohnPoint's idea is brilliant and I agree that it would connect Selitos (the obsidian) with the Cthaeh (the box's wood), but I'm not sure that those facts are enough to connect the two.

Occam's razor should argue that the Cthaeh is the Cthaeh and not a transmutation of someone else. (Sometimes this re-read reads like a bad spy novel, everyone is someone else.)

I think there are a couple problems with the Selitos as Cthaeh that I haven't seen addressed:

What caused Selitos to change from his stated mission of opposing the Chandrian to the Cthaeh's current mission (unknown, but seems to be the causing of pain)?

Doesn't this theory cheapen Bast's words that Iax and Lanre spoke to the Cthaeh before committing their atrocities? Presumably they spoke to each other more than once, given that both Selitos and Lanre were king-figures among their people and that Selitos and Iax were both first-order Shapers/Knowers.

I have been under the impression that Bast knows about the Scrael and why they are returned to the world, but he was clearly unaware of the Cthaeh. If opening the box returned the Scrael and the skin-dancer, why wouldn't he know about the Cthaeh?

And finally, a point you mentioned previously:

Technically, Lanre talks to Selitos after he orchestrates the betrayal, but before the betrayal is committed. He planned it well before talking to him.
images10dream
109. mr. awesome
Upon revisiting it, I like the Selitos = CTH theory. It's the line about a "better sort of sight" that gets me. I've been assuming that CTH was a snake creature, but that was unfounded.

However, I've noticed that many readings of this make Haliax into a good guy again, and that's certainly flawed based on his behavior so far. I believe that this isn't a good vs. evil story, but neither is it an evil vs. good story where identity roles are simply reversed. Rather, I think Selitos and Lanre are both noble, good figures, who then turned evil.

I think Selitos was evil at the time Lanre took the city. I also think that Lanre was evil at the same time. There's not really evidence for this, I'm just pointing out that there's no evidence for any sort of Evil vs. Good approach.

I also still disagree with the stone in the box theory.
images10dream
110. TheFrog
Just another random thought...
... Regarding the Doors of Stone, that may or not may be relevant, but I keep connecting it to a previous thread about how K seems different inside his Inn, and that the Inn is named Waystone. I don't really take it literally, but in a sense, maybe part of K is trapped...
Mike Dorr
111. Westmarch
In previous threads, I introduced and was the main proponent of the Cthaeh = Iax theory, but I'll admit to being intrigued by the Selitos theory as well. It fits the narrative rules that I laid out, one of which was basically "don't introduce new major characters halfway through your story completely out of context." The Cthaeh shows up in the back half of Day 2 and, if you think about it, there was absolutely no hint whatsoever that he existed and he was so central to the narrative.

But, had you posited at the end of book 1 "hey, I think Kvothe may meet more of the main players of the Creation War, like he had already met Lanre", you would believe that to be a likely direction for the story. Either Iax and Selitos make sense for the Cthaeh in terms of the narrative. I liked Iax for it, based on his connection to Fae and lust for power and the major clues that he is "the enemy". But Selitos also works, since he was more of an Oracle to begin with, and he mentions the connection to Cinder (thru Lanre/Haliax).

Selitos also works more strongly if you believe the "counter-narrative" theories, i.e. the Chandrian could be the good guys, Skarpi's story is wrong, Denna's is more right. It is clear that the two sides in all this are using stories to manipulate and/or obfuscate the truth. Which is PR's point.
Ashley Fox
112. A Fox
Selitos is not an oracle, nor can he read the future.

He is a powerful Namer. Namers see into the very heart of something, know it completely. This is what Selitos does. It could be argued that he as an abilty to see far in distance, as he demonstrates this in Scarpi's story.

If he could see future events then he would not have been tricked by Lanre, he would have known what was going to happen. He didnt. He didnt even know what had happened to Lanre until after Lanre's binding had worn off, then he was able to see him, truely.

There is nothing predictive in this.

In fact the only evidence I can find of Selitos acting/saying anything in predictive, or knowing in the way the CTH is knowing is a his own inherent flaw. (Via Scarpi's narrative, which is obviously attributed to Selitos but could actually be a segue to a later tale we do not hear)

"Selitos was wise. He understood how grief can twist a heart, how passions drive good men to folly."

This sentence can be ascribed to the later Amyrs actions, sacrifing all for the 'greater good', which in Selitos view is his vengence. Not really that good is it? This could also be viewed in context of Lanre...and, of course, K...folly, mmm?

Oh and those who say Lanre visted/encountered the CTH after the betrayel? Selitos see's within Lanre how 'out of love for Lyra, Lanre sounght knowledge where knowledge was best left alone, and gained it at a terrible price'. Now this is ambigous but fits with a meeting with the CTH.

CTH's identity. Im still holding firm that the CTH is the CTH, and that he is the beast mentioned. Bast states that both Iax and Lanre spoke with the CTH before their actions.

Evidence of Iax meeting CTH.

Hespe " Some say that he was born under a bad star, that he was cursed, that he had a demon riding his shadow" Demon and shadow? Standard associstions with Cth's poisening.

Hespe' story, the hermit speaking "How sad your heart is broken and you never had a chance to use it." Now I'll admit this one seems a bit off the wall, but Lanre later suffers a broken heart, and so seemingly does K. Perhaps this is a consequence of being used by the CTH, and it also seems that Iax was very young when he was poisened.

Curiously if Jax's ill-luck is actually the CTHs influence..."Or perhaps he was unlucky in all things. But in the end he only managed to catch a peice o the moon's name, not the thing entire."

felurians descrpition of Iax 'this shaper of the dark and changing eye" Eyes as sign.

CTH ' a sinuous motion against the branches'

Felurian checking K afte CTH "she took my face in her hands and looked into my eyes as if frightened what she might find there." & "all is well the hurt will go. it has not bit you, and your eyes are clear, so all is well." Eyes and broken heart again.

(curiously just before K meets the K he is wandering of the things he wil see in Faen 'Barefoot old men, eager to give me advice...' obviously paralelling the hermit who gives Jax advice.)

(((( Sorry some random bits here that were supposed to be at the end but when I try a C&P the net spasms.

Knacks...Just noticed the hermit says to Jax re learning to listen "It depends if you have a knack for it".

Oh on reproduction. In hespe's story there is a throw away line, but still...re Jax "Some say the problem was he never had any parents."

On my earlier Fire theory when K is with Felurian giving his mortal vs fae =water vs alchol "One will burn, the other will not" ))))

The enemy in Ademre "The empire had an enemy, as strength mst have. But the enemy was not great enough to pull it down. Not by pulling or pushing was the enemy strong enough to drag it down. The enemy's name is remembered, but it will wait.
Since not by strength could the enemy win, he moved like a worm through fruit. Th enemy was not of the Lethani. He poisened seven others..." Now this Enemy seem to me to be more like the Ctheath than Iax. The not by strength part could be the battle of Drossen Tor, when Lanre apparently killed him, then after that he used more vitriolic methods.

CTH & Lanre.

"Lanre stood against a terrible foe. It was a great beast with scales of black iron, whose breath was a darkness that smothered men." This darkness is synomous with the CTH. Imo Lanre did not kill the beast, just as Tehlu did not really kill Encanis, but that the CTh was diminshed, its strength forsaken, a smaller form assumed, the one we glipse in the tree.

Beast with black scales. Worm through fruit. Sinuous movent. All snake-like, and things with scales tend to shed skins.

"After the battle was finished and the enemy set beyound the doors of stone, survivors found Lanres body, cold and lifeless near the beast he had slain." Ok. Here I do think the enemy is plural, as in the enemy host, but it could also mean Iax. The enemy here is distinguised from the body of the beast. "doors half closed". I beleive that Lanres host were fighting the shapers and Fae, when they won they forced them into Faen and locked the doors (mostly). Lanre was not dead, he fought and was bitten by the CTH, the bite made him appear dead whilst the poisen worked through him. The battle was won by this point, the CTHs body likely greatly damaged, it shed its skin and slipped through the doors with the Fae host. Where it is then trapped. Or something like this. Perhaps part of Lanres battle inc tethering it to the tree. The tree bit is vague, we dont really have any info of how it came to be there.

When lanre come to MT "...haubergeon of blacks scales. His armour fit him closely as a second skin of shadow." More shadow. And heartbreak. It is also implied that Lanre and Selitos to not meet eyes until Lanre binds him. "A great darkness and troubled spirit." "What grips you is something worse than madness. I cannot cure you."

This is rather long, isnt it? Sorry. Well I guess im mapping out the CTHs presence, influence and signs. It poisened Iax when he was young, it is implied that all the greats; Iax, Selitos, Lyra and Aelph know one another, perhaps intimately. So how can Selitos theturn into the CTH? When it is the CTHs influence of Iax that led to the stealing of the moon (though not completely).

It also seem that the 4c's is not aware of the CTH. Adem may be. The Fae do. I think this accounts for the slight confusion over who the enemy is in the stories. Iax is the enemy of the knowers, yet if he is under the influence of the CTH that makes him more of a general than THE enemy.
thistle pong
113. thistlepong
shalter@105: Just tenaciously runnin’ down the idea.

Aesculpius@103
Among the peoples were a few who had the skill and knowledge to achieve deep understanding of the world around them;Naming was an expression of this insight into the nature of the world and all things in it but, at its most fundamental, it was perhaps better thought of simply as Knowing.
There were those who wished to keep Knowing as a pure form and they came into conflict with a sub-group who wished to use their skills and knowledge to control and manipulate the world around them. They became known as Shapers.
This is elegant and well said.

gbrell@108:
(Sometimes this re-read reads like a bad spy novel, everyone is someone else.)
There is only one character: Manet. (If there are two characters, they'd be Manet and Denna; but that's it.)

What caused Selitos to change from his stated mission of opposing the Chandrian to the Cthaeh's current mission (unknown, but seems to be the causing of pain)?
He's still single minded, but he needs to get out of the tree. Even so, he got Kvothe riled up about Cinder.

Doesn't this theory cheapen Bast's words that Iax and Lanre spoke to the Cthaeh before committing their atrocities?
How much of that's hindsight? Iax surely didn't think the moon thing was going to cause centuries of war. And Lanre clearly surprised Selitos. These things are only atrocities in retrospect.

Bast knows the same stories "every Fae girl and boy knows." If you see the rhinna tree, or the evil magician, or the modegan doctor, you're watching a tragedy. Take a look at this:
“That’s not what I actually said,” the old man murmured. But he did so in a resigned way. Skilled listener that he was, he knew he wasn’t being heard. (TBWLtM- Hespe)
and
“Blood, bracken, and bone, I wish you creatures had the wit to appreciate me. Whatever else you might forget, remember what I just said. Eventually you’ll get the joke. I guarantee. You’ll laugh when the time comes.”
There's a case to be made that it's only malice in hindsight, too. I mean, I wouldn't bet on it. But by now it's familiar with being misunderstood.

I have been under the impression that Bast knows about the Scrael and why they are returned to the world, but he was clearly unaware of the Cthaeh. If opening the box returned the Scrael and the skin-dancer, why wouldn't he know about the Cthaeh?
Exactly. If opening the box... Incidentally the next best guess for the contents prior to the exact match was a scraeling fragment that attracted the scrael from... well, somewhere. It approached the density requirements but left the wood question and the why unanswered.

Bast knows the scrael are abroad in the world, but credits Kvothe's suggestion that they may have died coming over the mountains. Looked at dispassionately, a threat that dies crossing the mountains isn't a lock-away-for-three-millenia kind of threat. The other thing they're both kind of guessing about:
“I recognized it as being from the Mael. That was enough.”
“So, probably a skin dancer?” Kvothe mused. “Didn’t you tell me they’d been gone for ages and ages?”
Bast nodded. “And it seemed sort of…dumb, and it didn’t try to escape into a new body.” Bast shrugged. “Plus, we’re all still alive. That seems to indicate that it was something else.”
Chronicler watched the conversation incredulously. “You mean neither of you know what it was?”
Technically, Lanre talks to Selitos after he orchestrates the betrayal, but before the betrayal is committed. He planned it well before talking to him.
Way back in #31. Seven cities and one city. Seven cities relaint on strength of arm, reliant on Lanre. Seven poisoned against the empire, but six cities fell. Six, and Myr Tariniel. And Selitos taken by surprise, furious at Lanre's clever trickery. Stated clearly, Seliots convinced Lanre to do this, and Lanre figured out he was being manipulated. His was the city that survived and he marched on MT.

mr. awesome @109:
However, I've noticed that many readings of this make Haliax into a good guy again, and that's certainly flawed based on his behavior so far.
But Denna’s version was different. In her song, Lanre was painted in tragic tones, a hero wrongly used.
There's certainly a temptation to invert the roles, but you're absolutely right. Lanre can be a hero wrongly used, but he still would have coordinated the attacks on the other six cites. Even Iax could have exercised some patience, spoken and listened to the knowers cautioning the shapers to stop.

I tend to think that's why the Amyr go on about "the greater good" rather than something more idyllic. They know there mission is subjective and self-interested. Aesclepius's characterization of The Creation War as a civil war strikes the right tone.

Westmarch@111:
Selitos also works more strongly if you believe the "counter-narrative" theories, i.e. the Chandrian could be the good guys, Skarpi's story is wrong, Denna's is more right. It is clear that the two sides in all this are using stories to manipulate and/or obfuscate the truth. Which is PR's point. (itallics mine)
This. I looked up references to Teccam just to do due diligence before dismissing him and ran across "narrative septagy" again. Someone pointed out that it probably referred to Christopher Booker's The Seven Basic Plots. But I worry it has more to do with septage: ie it's all BS.
Jeremy Raiz
114. Jezdynamite
@113 - thistlepong, shalter, gbrell, mr awesome and westmarch

I like the parallel between:
(1) Selitos' blood (on the mountain-glass) in the Loeclos box (wood from the Cthaeh tree)
(2) Selitos/Cthaeh being trapped in the Cthaeh's tree in the Fae.

But I'm struggling with Selitos also being the Cthaeh.

I'm giving a very basic Mortal world timeline below to help make some of my points below clearer.

------------------------------------------------------------------
Before 5000 yrs ago
Felurian was in Murella
Faen world created, including Aleu/stars.
Iax spoke to the Cthaeh
Iax tries to steal the moon and partially succeeds.
Approx 5000 yrs ago
Lanre becomes Haliax.
Selitos pokes out his own eye; he curses Haliax.
Somewhere between 5000-3000 yrs ago
Selitos/Amyr (visible to mortals) elect to thwart the 7.
Tehlu and pals (invisible to mortals) given Angel powers.
Approx 3000 yrs ago
Loeclos box made; object probably placed in box.
------------------------------------------------------------------

If the Selitos/Cthaeh theory is true:

According to the above timeline, I'd assume that Cthaeh/Selitos would have been trapped in the Cthaeh tree about 3000 years ago. For 2000 mortal years (between 5000 and 3000 years ago), Selitos would have been free to lead the Amyr and also perform his dual role as the Cthaeh, without any tree imprisoning him.

Main doubts with the Selitos/Cthaeh theory

(a) How would the Fae people (eg. Felurian) account for the most dangerous being in existence (the Cthaeh) magically being imprisoned in a tree in the Fae world when it wasn't imprisoned for at least 2000 years before that? They surely had knowledge of the Cthaeh before it was imprisoned 3000 years ago (it had spoken to Iax and Lanre 5000 years ago).

(b)There would also need to be colusion between powerful and important people in both Mortal and Faen worlds to trap Selitos/Cthaeh in a tree in the Faen world.

If the purpose of the Loeclos box is to imprison Selitos, powerful people in the Faen world (and probably the Loeclos family) would know that Selitos and the Cthaeh are one and the same.

I doubt an important historical detail like this would totally disappear from stories told in the Faen world. However, this could be the secret that the Loeclos family are guarding.

(c) I had the impression that the blood on the Mountain Glass was used just to bind (immobilise) Haliax to grant Selitos enough time to use Haliax's own name to permanently curse him (without Haliax escaping or fighting back).
By the power of my own blood I bind you. By your own name let you be accursed.
Given my impression of the Mountain Glass not being important (other than to temporarily bind Haliax), I doubt it would have been kept (or even kept secure) for 2000 years to later be placed into the Loeclos box in order to trap Selitos in a Fae tree.
thistle pong
115. thistlepong
Good post.

I wish I had time to address it more thoroughly.

(a) He's become the most dangerous being in existence in Faen lore. Bast says "can be traced back to," which suggests to me that they had to do some detective work.

(b) Felurian tells Kvothe only what she wants to and Bast knows the stories they tell kids. I don't think the Seven would have needed any help. Worse yet, if the tree already existed, it's a bit embarrassing to have your panacaea corrupted.

(c) It's a long thorough curse. But yah, the notion rests entirely on the obsidian shard. Alaxel's pretty savvy, though. It could have taken two thousand years to lure someone as powerful as Selitos to the Rhinna.
Steven Halter
116. stevenhalter
If it is Selitos' blood on the stone in the box then it could provide a convenient way for Kvothe to create a link to Selitos at some opportune story moment and summon him. Kvothe could do this thinking "A ha I'm getting the true Amyr to help!" If Selitos is a good guy this could be helpful. If he is a bad guy or even "working for the greater good", this might not work out as well as Kvothe thought it might.
images10dream
117. mr. awesome
Request: I want to hear more stories about failed heroes. Not antiheroes who do or want bad things, but heroes who don't achieve their objectives or who do the opposite of their objectives. The KK series and one by Stephen King (don't spoil the ending by saying which one, if you're aware then it's obvious what I'm talking about) are the only ones I've read. I like them very much.

Other books with failed heroes please? I'll be very grateful.
Stephane Dauzat
119. Zolt
@117
The Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson is built around the whole concept. The intro basically goes like this: Once upon a time the world was beset by a great evil. Out of prophecy emerged a young hero with a mysterious destiny. He was humanity's last hope against the darkness that threatened it. He failed.

@114
A few problems with your timeline:
The founding of the Amyr and that whole episodes happens in the immediate aftermath of the burning of MT, so approx 5000 years ago.

The Loeclos box is at least 3000 years old, but could be older, and even predate the burning of MT. I like the idea that it contains the piece of rock Selitos used to poke out his own eye, but I'm not sure Selito's blood on it is the relevant thing: I think it's more related to Haliax's curse - Selitos did use that rock to cast it. Kote is "cursed" too in a way, he's lost his Name, and pretty much everything else that made him him. And now he's got a chest that can't be opened too.

I believe I've had just about enough of the Selitos = CTH theory. We've got nothing to prove or disprove it at the time. The main thing it adds to the reading is to underline Selitos' potential ambivalence, which was already apparent with Denna's retelling of Lanre's story. We don't even know whose side the guy was on. He was a Namer of great power, but was he also a Shaper, allied with Iax?

Iax is trapped behind the Doors of Stone, but so is the Enemy after Drossen Tor. Was Iax / the shapers / the proto-fae the enemy mentioned in Skarpi's tale? I'm not sure also where to place that event in the timeline. I think it has to be before or at Drossen Tor. The timeline would make sense that way:
- Iax steals the moon, starts creation war
- Iax defeated, trapped behind the Doors of Stone
- Lyra dies
- Lanre tries to raise her, looks for knowledge where it's better left alone (behind the Doors?).
- Lanre comes back as Haliax, a powerful namer. Sounds a lot like "half - Iax" or something.
- Lanre talks to the CTH at some point. Can be even before Lyra's death.
- Betrayal of the 7 cities.

About the Doors of Stone there are two possible readings. 1 is they mean the waystones and are the doors between mortal and fae land. 2 is they are some kind of prison, maybe even the 4th door that Kvothe mentions in NOTW: sleep, forgetfulness, madness, death.

I quite like the latter - it would make "set behind the doors of stone" an euphemism for death, and the actual, stone doors could be something the Shapers created to reach even into death and bring back people - it would be consistent with their hubris, and we know it's been done at least once by Lyra.

Nature of the Cthaeh: I'm quite convinced that the CTH is some kind of creature that was made or altered by the Shapers to fit their purposes. That also fits with their general pattern of remaking the words to their wishes. If you're going to play at being gods, having an oracle to predict the consequences of your actions would be pretty handy, no?

- "Hey, but if we make an intelligent creature capable of seeing the future, wouldn't it be dangerous, sorta?
- Hmm, maybe we could just make it, you know, kind of stupid?
- No way! I don't want to pull my hair out sorting through prophetic gibberish. We need it to be smart enough to make sense of what it sees.
- Right, and make it so it can only tell the truh, too.
- Good idea, and let's tie it to a big tree. That way it can't possibly go out and use its knowledge to do shit in the world, right?
- That should work, let's do this!
- Great, and, uh, can we have butterflies too? I like butterflies.
- Whatever."

Hubris, folly, again and again. That's one of the main themes of these books, maybe the main theme.
thistle pong
120. thistlepong
Zolt @119:
The founding of the Amyr and that whole episodes happens in the immediate aftermath of the burning of MT, so approx 5000 years ago.
@114 Jezdynamite is technically correct. We have no evidence regarding when Skarpi's fragment in "Tehlu's Watchful Eye" takes place.

mr awesome @117: Are you looking for novels or any media?
Stephane Dauzat
121. Zolt
@120:
Pretty strong evidence unless the Ruach were a people who could live for thousands of years. Most of the named characters in Skarpi's 2nd story are implied to be survivors of MT and the 7 cities. "Tal Kirel, who had been burned but left living in the ashes of Myr Tariniel" and so on.. Maybe not right the day after, but a few years after at most. The war and the burning of the 7 cities seem to be fresh in everyone's mind too.

If you're implying that the Ruach are that long-lived, that would mean they are in fact the Fae. Not impossible but it's a pretty bold assumption. Also why is Lanre well remembered by normal humans, whereas other characters from Fae lore are unknown in the 4c world?


The only reason the "3000 years" date comes in the timeline in the first place is because of K's estimation of the age of the Loeclos box, and he's barely even ballparking it. The Lackless family is also said to be as old as the line of the Kings of Modeg, and they claim 5000 years IIRC.
Jeremy Raiz
122. Jezdynamite
@121 - I couldn't find any reference to the Modegan royal line being 5000 years old. Could you point that out to me please?

I think you are probably right about the angels getting their power close to 5000 years ago, but I didn't want to assume it. thats why I have it between 5k and 3k years ago.

FYI - I wasn't attempting to put together an all-encompassing timeline, just a basic one to support my questions.

And the age of the Loeclos box (being 3000 years) seems to me to be confirmed by Meluan due to her surprise at Kvothe's accurate guess.

Jo - Have we got an established agreed timeline out there? Is it worthwhile putting one together for all to refer to? I certainly don't have the patience for putting it together, it does my head in.
thistle pong
123. thistlepong
Jezdynamite @122:
I have one that's fairly comprehensive if folks wanna see it.

Zolt@121:
On that timeline the small fragment of a story starring Aleph, Selitos, and Tehlu was the first notable event following the final events in "Lanre Turned." I wasn't making any specific claims, but Jezdynamite has the right of it in a dispassionate technical assessment.

Regarding your conclusions about my position and the thistlepong mommet you fashioned, I think that possibility is probably worth interrogating. You know, just to be thorough. Any consideration of Iax's age has to account for him existing prior to Faen while being contemporary with Selitos in "Lanre Turned."

Meluan corroborates the age of the Loeclos Box. That's significant, if still kinda weak, support. It's her heirloom after all. The Presence of Yllish knotwork, if that's accurate (an, let's face it, we all think so) makes it a bit harder to push the date back any further. Kvothe's guess is buttressed by the text, despite his wild mistake about saicere.
Steven Halter
124. stevenhalter
@121:
If you're implying that the Ruach are that long-lived, that would mean they are in fact the Fae.
@123:
Any consideration of Iax's age has to account for him existing prior to
Faen while being contemporary with Selitos in "Lanre Turned."
Iax and the other original Shapers/Knowers are fairly clearly at the very least exceptionally long lived. Some of the denizens of Fae (such as Felurian) were from this original time period and share this long lifespan. Some Fae such as Bast are more recent but seem to also have long life spans. Some denizens of Fae are probably from lines created by Shapers for various amusements.
The "humans" of the 4C seem to have lost the long life span characteristic or it was removed from them through Shaping or are a separate species that never had that characteristic.
So, yes, it is quite likely that a number of those involved in the creation war are still banging around.
Stephane Dauzat
125. Zolt
Strictly speaking, we have no evidence that Iax or Selitos or any of the shapers lived an exceptionally long lifetime. We only know that Haliax and his Chandrian have lived 5000 years, that the Fae are very long-lived, and that Tehlu and his angels have been around for quite a while too.

But anyway, trying to put up a firm timeline at this point is madness: too much of what we know is deliberately vague, or possibly contradictory.

Fair point for Meluan, that's some supporting evidence, although she doesn't know much about the box either. For all we know, Yllish knots could predate other forms of writing too. And how exactly was K wrong about Saicere?
thistle pong
126. thistlepong
The Modegan royal line can only be estimated:
Indeed, if not for the burning of Caluptena, we might possess records tracing the Lackless family back far enough for them to rival the royal line of Modeg in its antiquity. . . .
The dates for the Loeclos family:

Oldest mention: 1300 years ("a thousand years before the fall of Atur)
Height of influence: 900-1000 years ago
Name divergence: 600 years ago

So the conservative estimate for the ancient lines of Modeg would begin around 1400 years in the past. They could extend further, but the surviving history we've been presented with starts with the Cealdim around 2000 years ago. The oldest varifiable lines out here are 1200-1500 years old.

Zolt @125:
This is only inference, of course. But The Book of the Path is in Tema. Temic predates that by a thousand years, and Yllish predates that. I'm not ready to accept that Yllish is the ur-tongue spoken by the knowers. It's not impossible, but it's linguistically unlikely since people still speak it. The notion that a timeline would be useless is nihilistic.

Kvothe called 2000 years a coservative estimate regarding Saicere. He was off by a minimum of 3000 years and probably more like 3500. It had thirty owners before Drossen Tor.
images10dream
127. Berkeley Hunt
On the Doors of Stone, from the Kingkiller Chronicles Wiki.

Skarpi tells that the enemy was set beyond the doors of stone at the Blac of Drossen Tor. (NotW Ch. 26)
The mysterious four plate door in the Archives is stone.
Felurian says that the shaper who stole the moon is shut beyond the doors of stone. (WMF Ch. 102)
Bast swears upon the doors of stone. (WMF Ch. 105)
The waystones, which might also be called greystones, standing stones or laystones may be door ways that lead to other destinations like the Fae or old roads.

So from this information, 2 things can be surmised. Either the 'door of stone' is the Four Plate Door, or an entrance into another world that is likely Faen. I'm leaning toward Faen. Mostly because of the plural doors, but also because sealing the Enemy into an alternate world seems like a better plan than into a box or in a room.
Jeremy Raiz
128. Jezdynamite
Thistlepong@126:

I'd love to see a timeline. Thanks. That would be brilliant. There are so many things that I've missed and seemingly non-major dates/events that I've just glossed over when I've read about them. Maybe a timeline can reveal some new perspectives.

I'm fairly sure there will be lots of questions/doubts about the timeline from different posters.

Do you think posting it in the comments of Jo's next chapter summary will have more people look a it?
Jo Walton
129. bluejo
Thistlepong: A timeline would be wonderful.

Put it here or in this coming week's post, and I'll add it to the week after's post, for ease of future reference.
images10dream
131. mr. awesome
I was just interested in novels, thanks.
Jeremy Raiz
132. Jezdynamite
mr. awesome@131 - A sci fi one is Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (book 1 in a series). I dont want to ruin it for you, but some think he's a hero and others (like me) think he's a failed and tortured hero. You can read this book as a stand alone or continue with the series.

Or are you just looking at the fantasy genre?

If you were keen to read something a bit different, I'd suggest the Joe Abercombie's "The First Law" trilogy (starting with the Blade Itself) where it's tragic what one of the main characters does. Brilliant series. But it's not a stand alone novel and I doubt it's exactly what you are looking for (hero with tragic ending).
thistle pong
133. thistlepong
mr. awesome@131: Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

bluejo@129: I won't be able to get it formatted immediately. Probably better that way, so folks can talk about the chapters for a bit.
Andrew Mason
134. AnotherAndrew
Well, strictly speaking, the archtypal epic fantasy hero failed (though his aim was still achieved).
George Brell
135. gbrell
@117.mr.awesome:

I'd agree that Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson fits your billing. I actually think a fair amount of his ouevre would work. Both Warbreaker and Way of Kings have failed protagonists. Plus, Warbreaker is available for free on Brandon's website (creative commons license).

Random aside: I really enjoyed reading Mistborn originally, but returning to them three years later I found the suck-fairy hard at work (pervasive religiousity became much more apparent). I haven't had that problem with Warbreaker, though, which is odd considering that religion is a much bigger plot point.

For science fiction, I concur with Ender's Game and think Speaker for the Dead fits the bill to some extent. Other sci-fi novels:
-Gateway by Frederik Pohl
-Armor by John Steakley
-The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

On other recommendations:
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
-Fantastic. Anything by Rushdie is worth reading.
"First Law" Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie
-Really enjoyed reading it. Think the twist at the end of the first novel is brilliant. Think the twist at the end of the third novel is shocking, but less brilliant. Have never had a desire to return and re-read them (normally a compulsive habit of mine) and find myself much preferring his "peers" (Scott Lynch, Rothfuss).
Stephane Dauzat
136. Zolt
@126. thistlepong
I'm not ready to accept that Yllish is the ur-tongue spoken by the knowers.

I wasn't implying that Yllish was the tongue spoken by the old Knowers, only that Yllish is very, very old, and thus we can't use that to put an upper limit on the Loeclos box's age.

Interestingly though, it seems the Aturan empire did its very best to eradicate Yllish civilization and language, although they seem to have coexisted fairly well with their other Cealdish and Modegan neighbors. That's at a time when the Amyr were a major force in the Empire too.

Kvothe called 2000 years a coservative estimate regarding Saicere. He was off by a minimum of 3000 years and probably more like 3500. It had thirty owners before Drossen Tor.

Right, it seems that the name Drossen Tor simply didn't register with Kvothe. For someone who's got a memory so sharp he can cut himself, that seems sloppy. He knows from the CTH that Lanre/Haliax is 5000 yrs old, and he knows Lanre was at Drossen Tor

Oh and Day 3 sneak peak: Kvothe finally manages to open the Loeclos box, and it contains... a key. *Scratches head*

@127. Berkeley Hunt
Either the 'door of stone' is the Four Plate Door, or an entrance into another world that is likely Faen. I'm leaning toward Faen.

If it's of any relevance, the main doors to the Archives is also stone. The plural could because there's several consecutive sets of Doors.

I like the idea of Waystones = Doors of Stones = entrances into Fae too, mainly because it provides a lot of opportunity for double reading. "Behind the doors of stone" could mean mortal world, or Fae world depending on your point of view.

The main problem with this theory is that nobody is really shut behind those doors. The Faen travel through them seemingly at will to visit the mortal world, and although their power is reduced there they still find it great fun. If anyone can be called "shut", it would be the regular humans, although they can also wander into Fae by accident, on moonless nights. (Also to the great amusement of the Faen)
images10dream
137. RuafaolGaiscioch
Before any theorizing, but I just wanted to say, I just found this re-read on Reddit, read through from the start of the Name of the Wind in the past 36 hours, and I am utterly fascinated. You, not only Jo, but all of the Departments, are absolutely brilliant, I know I am late to the game, but I plan on earning an E'lir status soon. One thought I did have on this most recent bit, the idea of the Lethani seems directly contradictory to the idea of the Ctheah, one is flowing to the right movement without a plan, the other is a rigid plot designed to bring about the worst effect. Since the Ctheah seemingly introduced the aspect of the Lethani into Kvothe's life, the one thing, potentially, that could throw off the Ctheah's game, could this not be the best description of "the most beautiful game"? It seems to relatively closely reflect the idea of walking into a trap and turning it around.
Stephane Dauzat
138. Zolt
@137. RuafaolGaiscioch

I'm not so sure that defeating the Cthaeh is just about "playing a beautiful game". No matter how tricky or simple or elegant or brutal the path you choose is, the CTH can just skip to the end of it and see the result, and steer you accordingly.

I think Chronicler has done a fairly good job of summing up what's the "Lethani" thing to do about the CTH: Just ignore it and do what you want. The CTH is a petty sadist at heart. If you try to second guess it, he will second-guess you and torture you even more for thinking yourself smarter than he is.

"the other is a rigid plot designed to bring about the worst effect "
I think the CTH's plans are anything but rigid. Remember it sees all possible futures, and for each of those, he can devise a different plan.

There are events that the CTH cannot influence: Say when Marten shoots an arrow at a bandit, it will hit or it will miss, and things can turn very differently if it does - but the CTH can see both possible futures and take appropriate steps so that both end in tears.

One outside theory I like a lot about the CTH is that it's one huge hoax. It doesn't influence the future so much as see potential tragedies coming, and take credit for them. If you think about K's situation before he meets the CTH: He's already lost is family, and is desperate to find Cinder and take his revenge on him in whatever way he can.
Then he meets Denna, and we have good reasons to believe that Cinder is in fact her patron, Mr Ash. Kvothe swears an oath never to pry about her patron's identity - he doesn't know it yet but there's not a chance he can keep that oath - and he swears upon his left hand, his name and his power, and the ever moving moon. Don't know about the last but the first 3 he seems to have lost the use of in the frame.

Well, there you have it, K is already on a course to tragedy long before the CTH intervenes. The CTH reinforces that course by needling him about Ash and Cinder, and deliberately avoiding the topic of the Amyr, but did it even need to do that? Kvothe had already seen the bruises on Denna, and their relationship was already pretty messed up too.

OK That theory probably won't hold to close examination, but I still find it immensely entertaining.
George Brell
139. gbrell
@137.RuafaolGaiscioch/138.Zolt:

Zolt, I believe what Ruafaol is saying (please correct me if I'm wrong) is that the Cthaeh is playing the beautiful game. He introduces Kvothe to the Lethani (by sending him to the Stormwal), thus providing Kvothe with what might be the most effective weapon against the Cthaeh's oracular nature.

My opinion is that the Lethani has no effect on the Cthaeh in and of itself. I think the only defense against the Cthaeh is to have the same level of oracular understanding as it does. So to the extent that the Lethani is connected to Naming, it may be a useful tool.

Two oracles like the Cthaeh turns the entire world into a solipsistic battle between two one-eyed men in the land of the blind. Three oracles makes the whole world blind (random reference to the three-body problem).

There are events that the CTH cannot influence: Say when Marten shoots an arrow at a bandit, it will hit or it will miss, and things can turn very differently if it does

This depends completely on how you view predestination. If you believe in absolute causality, there is only one future. Marten's arrow is predetermined to either hit or miss based on every event that has preceded it. What I think the Cthaeh is doing is not just seeing the future perfectly, but seeing perfectly the effects of every possible action.

This is narrower than what you've implied because every future is thus dependent on the Cthaeh's action. To the Cthaeh, the world is simply an extreme version of solipsism. Thus, actions and events far removed from the Cthaeh (in terms of space-time connections, not just distance) would be less affected by the Cthaeh itself.

What it means more broadly is that the Cthaeh should be able to influence the world even trapped within its tree by strategically killing butterflies (not just because they offend it's aesthetic, but because of the trite adage about butterflies wings and hurricanes).

The real danger though is people with sentience talking to the Cthaeh, because they have a much greater variety of actions that they can take and therefore a much greater ability to bring about different futures. Because of its oracular vision, the Cthaeh knows exactly how to influence a person to make them take the actions that bring about a specific future (or specific range of futures).

What it's ultimate goal is in bringing about that future(s) over other possible futures is one of the unanswered questions in the series. I think there is someting more than sadism driving it.

one huge hoax

Let's call this the Exceed hypothesis.

Well, there you have it, K is already on a course to tragedy long before the CTH intervenes. The CTH reinforces that course by needling him about Ash and Cinder, and deliberately avoiding the topic of the Amyr, but did it even need to do that? Kvothe had already seen the bruises on Denna, and their relationship was already pretty messed up too.

What's the difference between "reinforcing" a course and "influencing" the future? The Cthaeh either sees tragedy coming and can't affect it/reinforce it, meaning it's predictions have no actual effect, the future would have come about anyway (a theory of time travel/foretelling that argues for a resilient timestream), OR the Cthaeh sees tragedy coming and acts to make sure it comes to fruition/gets worse, which is pretty much influencing the future. I think it has to be one or the other.

We can't actually say with deductive certainty that the Cthaeh is a perfect oracle. But it appears that the Cthaeh has been "right" for five thousand years (e.g., Iax, Lanre, the Scaendyne, the Nameless, the Fastingway War). We also can't deductively say that the sun will rise tomorrow (though it has done so for all of recorded history), but in both cases the weight of evidence suggests that its a sound inference.
images10dream
140. RuafaolGaiscioch
Gbrell, you're absolutely correct in what I meant. I guess I should explain just a tid of my mindset in saying that. A very strong point was brought up in one of the recent comments, at the very top, about the Ctheah being trapped. If he is omniscient, and always had been, it seems ludicrous to imagine he would ever be confined by anything, which leaves two possibilities: either he is "trapped" in the tree voluntarily, or he has been in the tree since the dawn of time. The second of these two seems unlikely, so I'm just running on the assumption that he allowed himself to be trapped. So, if he allows himself to be trapped, then he has to have a reason. As a corollary, if his end goal was to destroy and just cause general mayhem, as has been implied, he wouldn't have willingly went to the tree, because no matter how you cut it, he can do more damage free than confined. So, if we're dealing with a creature who is omniscient, malicious, but apparently does not want to destroy the world, that leaves one option: he is playing a game. If he is playing a game, then, who is the opponent. Again, two basic choices. Choice one, he's playing against some other power. Possibilities abound, Bredon, the Puppet, the Amyr, it could really be anybody. What if (and now I'm getting into much shakier ground than before) there's no one on the Ctheah's level? He is omniscient, considers himself a god, in a world where the actual God is revealed to be more of an angelic soldier. What if, more than anything else in the world, he wants to be wrong. He wants to be surprised by something happening. That could be why he sent Kvothe to learn the Lethani. He has influenced Kvothe's thoughts, but the Lethani, as far as I can tell, is objective. Regardless of what Kvothe thinks, the Lethani stays what it is, and being so, would be the only thing that could derail a plan set forth by someone who can predict all the decisions anyone will ever make: a decision based on the flow of the Lethani rather than the fabric of fate as the Ctheah sees it could change the course of history. In other words, in an eternity of boredom brought on by omniscience, the Ctheah is literally playing solitaire with itself, with Kvothe as a piece and the world as his board.
Stephane Dauzat
141. Zolt
@ 139. gbrell
Right, this is becoming pretty abstract. Personally I think if there were another being with the CTH's foresight, the world would implode under the weight of paradox.

He introduces Kvothe to the Lethani (by sending him to the Stormwal)

How so? K. was already well set on a path leading him to Ademre by the time he met the CTH. I don't have the book with me at the moment but I don't recall anything said to steer K towards the Adem. Actually if K had really heeded the CTH's words he'd have run staight back to the Maer.

This depends completely on how you view predestination. If you believe in absolute causality, there is only one future.

PR takes a stand against that, in Bast's voice, implying that there are many possible futures. In our current understanding of real-world physics, there's not only multiple possible futures, but also multiple presents (Shrodinger's cat), and even multiple pasts (Feynman quantum mechanics) that exist in superposition. Besides, if there is only one future, the CTH can't change it. Tautology.

Thus, actions and events far removed from the Cthaeh (in terms of space-time connections, not just distance) would be less affected by the Cthaeh itself.

It's probably clearer to translate "space time connections" by people.
Except the CTH's been around for 5000 years and talked to some pretty important people around that time. If you take absolute causality for granted and the CTH's vision of the future is perfect, then the CTH's tampering would have spread around history like ripples in a pond, and well, the've had plenty of time to go through the whole pond that is the 4C world. So there should be nothing in there that isn't under the CTH's control - Except maybe Schiem: evidence suggest that it's quite possible he and his ancestors have been isolated in their valley for several thousand years, and may never have met anyone who's met anyone repeat any number of times] who's been influenced by the CTH. And Manet. Author avatarship makes him immune.

What it means more broadly is that the Cthaeh should be able to influence the world even trapped within its tree by strategically killing butterflies (not just because they offend it's aesthetic, but because of the trite adage about butterflies wings and hurricanes).

Even if the Cthaeh's vision is perfect, his "tools" to influence the future are not so. He can kill butterflies, but he can't make them flap their wings in the precise way that would trigger a hurricane.

Humans are better, because you can speak to them, and they are oh, so easy to manipulate. Humans will do the craziest stuff if pushed just right. But speaking is still words, and Elodin makes a good point that words are an imperfect tool, too. They can only carry so much fine shades of meaning. That's why the CTH wants to talk to people for as long as possible - that gives him more time to "aim" his human pawn more finely at the exact future he wants to achieve.

***

The "Exceed" hypothesis as you call it, does not have to make a lot of sense. I just find it intensely amusing. It's more of a "one future" hypothesis, or at least some macroscopic events are predetermined regardless of the actions of one individual (Think Asimov's psychohistory). The CTH sees major catastrophes coming up, somehow summons their main protagonist (that "somehow"''s a weak link, for sure.), and has his 10 minutes of fun taunting him. Then the doomed hero goes back out in the world, some awful shit happens, and everyone thinks the CTH caused it.

Again, this probably doesn't make sense, but try to name one thing that K did that he was unlikely to have done if he hadn't met the CTH - apart from being catatonic for several weeks afterwards, I mean.

140. RuafaolGaiscioch
either he is "trapped" in the tree voluntarily, or he has been in the tree since the dawn of time. The second of these two seems unlikely

Nothing implies the CTH has been around since the dawn of time. Only since before Iax stole the moon. I think he was born trapped in that tree, because that's how the Shapers wanted their pet oracle to be.
(Gah, just had a flash of Kvothe, the CTH and Felurian singing Born this Way, damn my silly brain!)

Again, two basic choices. Choice one, he's playing against some other power. Possibilities abound, Bredon, the Puppet, the Amyr, it could really be anybody.
Aleph. Seems the only one who is god-like enough to fit the bill.

In other words, in an eternity of boredom brought on by omniscience, the Ctheah is literally playing solitaire with itself, with Kvothe as a piece and the world as his board.

That's pretty much how I see the CTH. I mean, for an omniscient being trapped in a tree, what other motivation could there be than his own amusement? He would probably love to be surprised, but there lies the whole problem: he can't! It's a tormented being and its sole comfort is to torment other creaturs in turn. Not according to some grand scheme, but at random, on a whim, to alleviate its boredom.

That might be also why he needs people to come to him. From his point of view, the only time the future ever changes is when *he* changes it. For example, he might already have set Kvothe's story in motion when he met Lanre. After all, Lanre /Haliax met Kvothe too and had a pretty big influence on his life. Except the Cthaeh got bored with that future, so by talking to Kvothe he can set up a new one. Just another possible way of looking at it.
Ashley Fox
142. A Fox
on the CTH & the Lethani.

When I was digging thru qoutes for my above post, I noticed this (I dont believe it has been bought up before). Its quite curios considering some of the discussion. K meets CTH;

"Three green butterflies twitched all at once. Their wings looked like leaves as they spun to the ground."
thistle pong
143. thistlepong
I kind of just wanna say thank you, RuafaolGaiscioch, gbrell, and Zolt. Sincerely.


RuafaolGaiscioch@140:
Aleph. Seems the only one who is god-like enough to fit the bill.
While transforming Tehlu & Pals is fairly impressive, I don't think it necessarily implies parity.

I think I actually agree with Zolt. We're never given to understand teh Cthaeh controls.
Felurian says:
“the Cthaeh does not lie. it has the gift of seeing, but it only tells things to hurt men."
Bast says:
“Reshi, the Cthaeh can see the future. Not in some vague, oracular way. It sees all the future. Clearly. Perfectly. Everything that can possibly come to pass, branching out endlessly from the current moment.”
Kvothe later, in the telling, says:
Felurian had said the Cthaeh only spoke the truth.
Perhaps y'all already articulted and dismissed this and I didn't follow closely enough.


1. Could the Cthaeh simply tell you what's going to happen anyway and just be a dick about it?

2. Could it simply look into your heart and repeat back what's there?
- Kvothe already hates Cinder.
- Kvothe already suspects Denna's patron.
- Kvothe wants to learn from the Adem
- Elodin told him to head for the edge of civilization.
We're aware it only says things to hurt men. If I call the Cthaeh a dick, I'm not lying; but I'm also not making a 1:1 claim about it's physical nature. Kvothe is the one who says it's a truthspeaker.

And it's important to note that Bast rants that the events "can all be traced back to the Cthaeh." By the same token, Kvothe's life could be said to be motivated by his encounter with Cinder. And yet, without Abenthy, that life would have been very different. Bast, of course, will pin it on the Cthaeh, because that's the villian he knows. Perhaps the Fae stopped looking there as well?

Zolt@136:
For someone who's got a memory so sharp he can cut himself, that seems sloppy.
If only that were the only time. Couple possibilities, not married to either. Kvothe is telling a story. The listener, or reader, sees/hears and expects and it creates anticipation and engagement. Or we have Susan Loyal's Hypothesis at work again.
images10dream
144. RuafaolGaiscioch
141 Zolt- Just a small thing, I like a lot of what you have there, but I don't think you can say that the Ctheah wants to talk to it's "victims" as long as possible. The bit about Master Ash beating D clearly drove Kvothe away from the tree, and if the Ctheah really wanted Kvothe to stick around longer (to, as you said, fine-tune the "arrow shot") then he would have known exactly what to say to make Kvothe stay a bit. He's had centuries, possibly millenia, since his last visitor, and that entire time, he's known that Kvothe would be coming next, and he would have had plenty of time to contemplate.
Steven Halter
145. stevenhalter
The Cthaeh talks to its visitors exactly as long as it can to most maximize its desires.
It can't force the visitor to stay, but it can see the various time lines and say the appropriate words that result in the time line that is most advantages to the Cthaeh.
For example, it might have been that if Kvothe had stayed and chatted longer, the Cthaeh could have done a lot more damage. However, by saying exactly what it did, it got Kvothe to stay long enough to hear whatever maximized the Cthaeh's plans.
If it had said anything else, Kvothe would either have stayed less long or have not had as useful a reaction as he had.
Contrary to Bast's claim, this doesn't mean that every action of Kvothe's is poisoned in the future. What it means is that Kvothe is now progressing down a time line in which his actions are more advantageous to the Cthaeh than they would have been without the talk.
Stephane Dauzat
146. Zolt
RuafaolGaiscioch, thistlepong

My best explanation for the Cthaeh's behaviour is that he's a "lazy villain", sort of. If we take's Bast and Felurian's words about it at face value, then it could easily manipulate Kvothe to spend a longer time with him, thus allowing himself to thoroughly condition Kvothe and start a thousand different plots leading to ruin all accross the 4C.

But that's just too fastidious. Boring, even. If the CTH was the kind of cold, calculating villain that pursues a greater goal it might do things this way. But instead he's the kind of villain that enjoys making bad puns that nobody will understand until day 3, and taunting Kvothe to his breaking point.

The CTH gives Kvothe 4 or 5 leads, setting in motion as many potential disasters, then maybe arrange a couple subtle things so that Kvothe will in turn steer someone else to visit the Cthaeh's tree, then he just can't resist having a bit of fun saying harmful things to K.

No definite proof for any of this of course, that's just the feeling I get when I read the Cthaeh bits. Also the fact that an omniscient, omnipotent, highly motivated villain would not make for a very interesting book. Still, even like this, the Cthaeh might well be the most chilling book villain I've read about, ever. Bast's "There isn't anything worse than the Cthaeh" scene is one of my favorites in TWMF.
images10dream
147. JohnPoint
I'm also not convinced that the Ctheah is as all-influencing as others seem to believe.

As Thistlepong demonstrated @143, Felurian indicated that the Cthaeh speaks only the truth, and does so only to hurt men. Bast is the one who believes that the Cthaeh can see "all the future. Clearly. Perfectly. Everything that can possibly come to pass."

We need to ask ourselves how Bast knows this -- I believe that the answer is from stories. Probably from "manling" stories that he heard in his youth (remember, he's only 150, which is presumably pretty darn young for a Fae).

Presumably, the stories they tell in Faen are as mutable as the stories in the 4C; since one of the main ideas inherent in KKC is that stories don't record THE truth, it's fair to assume that anything Bast learned from stories is somewhat suspect as well. Just as the different cultures in the 4C have entities that they're afraid of, and which aren't necesarily based on a "true" evil (shamblemen, demons, the fae, etc), it makes sense that we can't trust everything ascribed to the evil villain in manling stories (i.e., the Cthaeh).

Thus, as others have stated, we don't know what the Cthaeh's purpose or influence really is.
George Brell
148. gbrell
@Zolt/Ruafaul:

He introduces Kvothe to the Lethani (by sending him to the Stormwal)

How so? K. was already well set on a path leading him to Ademre by the time he met the CTH. I don't have the book with me at the moment but I don't recall anything said to steer K towards the Adem. Actually if K had really heeded the CTH's words he'd have run staight back to the Maer.

“Arrogance,” the Cthaeh said. “You assume you know everything. You laughed at faeries until you saw one. Small wonder all your civilized neighbors dismiss the Chandrian as well. You’d have to leave your precious corners far behind before you found someone who might take you seriously. You wouldn’t have a hope until you made it to the Stormwal.”

---

I thought of what the Cthaeh had said. The one shred of potentially useful information it had let slip in our conversation. You laughed at faeries until you saw one. Small wonder all your civilized neighbors dismiss the Chandrian as well. You’d have to leave your precious corners far behind before you found someone who might take you seriously. You wouldn’t have a hope until you made it to the Stormwal.
Felurian had said the Cthaeh only spoke the truth.

“Could I accompany you?” I asked.

This depends completely on how you view predestination. If you believe in absolute causality, there is only one future.

PR takes a stand against that, in Bast's voice, implying that there are many possible futures. In our current understanding of real-world physics, there's not only multiple possible futures, but also multiple presents (Shrodinger's cat), and even multiple pasts (Feynman quantum mechanics) that exist in superposition. Besides, if there is only one future, the CTH can't change it. Tautology.

I think the Chronicler/Bast discussion about the Cthaeh doesn't solve the problem. The point that Chronicler makes is that knowing about the Cthaeh's nature is itself known to the Cthaeh, so your actions would still be predictable. You can't beat the Cthaeh through some form of Princess Bride/Iocaine Powder stand-off.

Existing in superposition isn't exactly the same as existing. Schrodinger's cat is either alive or dead, but the observer isn't aware of it until he looks inside the box, so to the observer (the frame of reference) it is both alive and dead. There are multiple presents in the sense that every non-omniscent individual has a different set of these unknowns (but to each observer there is only one present with a set of unknowns whose outcome is undetermined). But to the Cthaeh, with supposedly perfect knowledge, there is only one present.

I'm a little confused by your reference to Feynman's quantum mechanics here. My understanding of QED is pretty basic, but I'm unclear about the many pasts you're referencing.

When I said there is only one future, I meant that if the Cthaeh chose to do nothing forever, there would be a single future emanating from that point. The Cthaeh, if it is the only omniscent being, would be the only actor that mattered since only its decisions would be done with knowledge of their consequences.

If you take absolute causality for granted and the CTH's vision of the future is perfect, then the CTH's tampering would have spread around history like ripples in a pond, and well, the've had plenty of time to go through the whole pond that is the 4C world.

This assumes that the Cthaeh is the only omniscent being and that there do not exist people that are immune/unseen to its power. If Naming does grant you similar abilities or immunity, then presumably the period after the Creation War where Selitos lived/acted (assuming he's not the Cthaeh) would have had a resistance to the Cthaeh.

Random thought: Lanre/Haliax has gained the same level of power as Selitos in Lanre Turned, which could mean that, at this point, only Lanre and the Cthaeh exist as "omniscent" beings and are fighting between themselves. Perhaps Haliax's actions towards Kvothe were intended to send him as an arrow into the future against the Cthaeh.

The "Exceed" hypothesis

This was a sloppy reference to a plotline in a comic called Fairy Tail. A character had premonitions of other people's death and claimed to be all-powerful by taking credit for their deaths.

In other words, in an eternity of boredom brought on by omniscience, the Ctheah is literally playing solitaire with itself, with Kvothe as a piece and the world as his board.

This was a conclusion I came to a number of posts back:
http://www.tor.com/blogs/2012/01/rothfuss-reread-speculative-summary-part-6-qexpect-disaster-every-seven-yearsq-speculations-on-kote#234962

"And then the Cthaeh sits alone, the last omniscient being, limited only by his geography. And cured of the interference of the other Knowers, he sees forward into the future so far as to see only oblivion and faced with that sane vision of madness, he conspires to end it, Lanre's own fate writ larger and more terrible."
Steven Halter
149. stevenhalter
gbrell@148:In the words of Stephen Hawking about Feynman (The Grand Design):
According to the quantum model, however, the particle is said to have no definite position during the time it is between the starting point and the endpoint. Feynman realized one does not have to interpret that to mean that particles take no path as they travel between source and screen. It could mean instead that particles take every possible path connecting those points.
...
In the double-slit experiment Feynman’s ideas mean the particles take paths that go through only one slit or only the other; paths that thread through the first slit, back out through the second slit, and then through the first again; paths that visit the restaurant that serves that great curried shrimp, and then circle Jupiter a few times before heading home; even paths that go across the universe and back.
So the arrived at path is basically the summation of the probabilities of all of the possible paths. I don't think we really have to take that into account with the Cthaeh though.
George Brell
150. gbrell
@149.shalter:

Okay, I understood that aspect, just didn't (and still don't) conceive of that as multiple pasts.

But you're probably right that it's not necessary for this re-read.
Stephane Dauzat
151. Zolt
@gbrell
But you're probably right that it's not necessary for this re-read.

Right, PR probably isn't a physics nerd, and I don't want to have my brain implode either. This re-read is sufficiently crazy as it is.

Also, I don't think the knowers could see the future - at least not in the way the Cthaeh does: they were supposed to be the sane ones.
Kate Hunter
153. KateH
@22 greyfalconway Sympathy was invented at the University, so I don't think Selitos could have been using it. Nice thought though.

Re: Felurian being born or not. We know from her own account that she predates the Fae-mortal split. Granted, that doesn't tell us much about how she came into being, nor how the Fae come into being nowadays. She later seems to include herself as one of the Fae, using "my people" and "we" when talking about them. Still, there was a time when she clearly could not have been Fae. To what extent she should be considered Fae in K's time - that's an open question. Maybe she wasn't born but included as part of the original creation. Not saying that's the case, but a possibility.

K's description of recovering from his encounter with the Cth initially reminded me of his mental turmoil after first calling the wind. Examining the text at these two points doesn't show obvious linkages. But I think the Faen as a whole is a sort of sleeping mind/dream state, and it sure reads to me as though K's sleeping mind took over for a bit after he first called the wind. His sleeping mind wasn't well equipped to be in charge in the 4c human realm. When he was messed up after calling the wind, Elodin had to help him out. He recovers on his own after the Cth, but it takes a while. Both episodes were precipitated by huge emotional reactions.

I've put together this little chronology, for illustrative purposes. Mostly this draws from what Felurian and Bast say, but I've also plugged in some things from Skarpi's story. I'm not saying this is iron-clad, but I've tried to keep it to what is really "known," and put a little speculative stuff in parenthesis. If there are problems with any of these or things to add, please chime in.

Chronology from Bast & Felurian's statements + Skarpi's story

* Shapers started messing about with things
* Old Knowers/Namers objected to this, tried to stop all shaping
* Shapers refused, created wonders, then grew bolder still with their shaping
* Beings to at least this time are neither Fae nor human
* The Faen realm was created by the "greatest (unclear whether this is singular or plural) of the shapers"
* Many shapers participated in this realm, all was according to their desire, they made stars for the empty sky
* Iax/Jax spoke with the Cthaeh
* Iax/Jax - greatest of all Shapers - stole the moon from the mortal sky, dividing it between Faen and mortal
* This theft sparked the Creation War
* Lanre dies in battle (speculation: during the Creation War? timing is uncertain)
* The "enemy" (speculation: Iax) is set beyond the Doors of Stone
* Lyra recalls Lanre from death (speculation: by Shaping?)
* Lanre speaks with the Cthaeh (speculation: he went to get a flower to cure Lyra)
* Lanre orchestrates the betrayal/destruction of Myr Tariniel

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