Mar 15 2012 2:00pm

Rothfuss Reread: The Wise Man’s Fear, Part 22: When Words Fail Us

The Patrick Rothfuss reread on Tor.comWelcome to my over-analytical reread of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. This week’s post covers chapters 114-119 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.

Why did I not realise that the much anticipated paperback release was a trade paperback weighing 1.2 kilos?

Also, an out of sequence thought about Felurian. I wonder what “sweet poet” is in the Fae language, if it might be “dulator”?


Chapter 114 is Height

“Height” refers to Vashet’s observation that all women are the same height lying down, but with men it depends on their natural gifts, heh.

Some time has passed — Vashet shares occasional meals with him, they fight, his language use improves so he can exchange brief pleasantries with others. They work on the sword, on Ademic, and on hand to hand. And then Kvothe gets turned on by Vashet’s scent, and she has a practical unembarrassed reaction — she asks him if he wants to have sex with her or if he’d rather take care of it himself. He’s extremely embarrassed, she’s just not, she says he’s embarrassed because he’s a barbarian. I find this encounter charming and funny, and laughed aloud when she said “Even if you could keep your mind away from that it would doubtless throw your balance off”.

It’s worth contrasting with Felurian. In both encounters the females are older and more experienced, but with Felurian the sex is all described in terms of coy flirtation and romantic adoration, and here with Vashet  it’s all sweaty practicality. This is obviously deliberate artistry and done this way on purpose, to be a contrast. Rothfuss isn’t pulling this stuff out of his id. It’s all there for a reason.

Afterwards, Vashet is exactly the same — to her it’s the same as if they’d shared a meal. She isn’t flirtatious or tender. She’s going with her cultural norms and Kvothe is disconcerted but does his best to figure it out.


Chapter 115 is Barbarian Cunning

What Vashet says Kvothe has.

This chapter starts “the days passed quickly” and again, time is passing and Kvothe is summarising. He’s learning stuff, he’s having sex with Vashet and she doesn’t think it’s a big deal or want to waste a lot of time with it. When she’s busy he watches students spar, or practices alone. He explores Haert and finds is bigger than he thought. There are baths with either a hot spring or great plumbing — he doesn’t know which. He goes late at night or early in the morning to avoid being caught staring at breasts and scars. He finds a smithy and an apothecary and a tailor where he buys some new clothes. He watches the Latantha and:

At times it seemed the branches wrote against the sky, spelling the name of the wind.

I don’t know how significant this is, considering what he does later, whether it’s metaphorical or a real gain in understanding naming.

Then Vashet finds him a sparring partner — a ten year old girl called Celean (17:11) who can beat him every time. And he does learn a lot from it, however humiliating he finds it. She’s completely croggled at the idea that women do not fight where Kvothe comes from.


Chapter 116 is Iron Worth Striking

The title isn’t explained in the chapter, but it’s clearly a reference back to when he arrived and the Adem assessment of him.

Again, time is passing quickly and we’re at “the better part of a month” — and these are of course 72 day months. His Ademic is improving so that he sounds like a child, not an imbicile. He’s proud of finally beating Celean — but even so he’s mocking himself about it with a verse. Then he watches Celean dancing under the razor sharp leaves of the sword tree, using Ketan moves to do it. When she does it, she makes a “single perfect cartwheel” from which I think we can assume that all Adem do single perfect steps. Then Vashet turns up and reproaches her — Kvothe can’t hear what she says but says:

It was the same scolding any child receives. Stay out of the neighbour’s garden. Don’t tease the Bentons’ sheep. Don’t play tag among the thousand spinning knives of toue people’s sacred tree.

Kvothe does not know that this is part of the ritual, but Celean and Vashet do, and we are being set up for knowing it’s a difficult but possible thing. Twice she has to skip back and once, she has to crawl out, but a ten year old Adem can do it four out of seven times.

Training with Vashet she demonstrates how completely helpless he is against her and that she could really hurt him, to make him understand the purpose of what they are doing — control, not hurting people. Kvothe still wants to win — even when he thinks his opponent is unworthy, as with Celean, and even when the point of what he’s doing is really not about winning. He just profoundly does not get it.


Chapter 117 is Hands

So important to Kvothe.

Vashet arranges for him to talk to people who can teach him things — an old man silkspinner who tells stories that make no sense to Kvothe, twin sister candlemakers who teach him dances, a woodcutter who talks about cutting wood. (19:12) Then he spends a morning with “two fingers” (19:13) Naden the cook, who has a crippled right hand. He helps cook and serve lunch, and Carceret makes a scene refusing food from him. Naden tells him that Vashet thinks Kvothe is too afraid for his hands, and that while he misses his hand it was better to risk it and lose it than be afraid.

Celean teaches him that opponents will go for the groin. Vashet makes him practice while nauseated from the blow, and again he asks to use the sword because he wants to win, again demonstrating his lack of comprehension of the Lethani. She hits him three times on the face.


Chapter 118 is Kindness

Penthe in coming to talk to him.

He goes to the dining room in a terrible mood and lots of pain, and Penthe comes to eat with him. She asks to speak Aturan for her to practice, and to practice facial gestures instead of hand gestures. She says she can read the faces of her close family, but worries about reading strangers. He says he misses having expressions and he has nobody there to be close to. She says he must have angered Vashet for her to mark him for everyone to see, and he realises for the first time that she has done that — not just punishment, a public message. Penthe continues to be kind to him. She teases him to write a poem about her smile — in Ademic. He does. She smiles, and he says that the smile of a young woman is the best thing in the world. Then she makes a poem for him in which she calls him a dancing bear.

Afterwards he doesn’t know if they were flirting but he is much more cheerful. He goes to see Vashet, and she says she can’t trust anything he says because he knows she is angry and he is afraid. She says he had a gentleness which is why she taught him, but she now thinks the gentleness was a mask and the hard dark thing underneath is the real Kvothe. She says she’ll think about it overnight and let him know in the morning.

He spends the afternoon buying and stealing tools — wax, a sharp shard of metal, hot water from the baths for a link. It’s as if he wants to demonstrate that yes, he is hard and ruthless and just as dangerous as Vashet thinks he is. He says:

What other option did I have, now that words had failed me?

What do any of us have when words fail us?

Well it seems to me that we have deeds? And what deeds come to Kvothe’s mind as a first resort — malfeasance? But to be fair, it is in self defense — she really could kill him. And running away might not work.


Chapter 119 is When Words Fail

These are very short chapters and that would be a terrible place to stop, so let’s have one more.

Kvothe goes to Vashet’s house emptyhanded in the night. He gestures for her to come outside. He knows she’s curious. She follows him. It’s a clear night with:

a piece of moon to light our way

(And where are the other pieces? Lighting Felurian?)

They walk for a mile in silence to a grove with a jumble of stones that would keep noise from the town. In the moonlight he drapes his shaed between them over a tree branch and then sits down and plays his heart out on the lute. He plays “The Village Smithy” “Violet Bide” and “Home Westward Wind” which reminds him of his mother and makes him cry. We already know “Violet Bide” is a sad song. Then he plays:

the wordless music that moves through the secret places of my heart

His Name? It’s also a sad song. He says this is what he is.

And we’ll stop there and go on next week.

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.

Katy Maziarz
1. ArtfulMagpie
Kvothe's Sleeping Mind may be able to understand the Lethani, but his Waking Mind sure is a moron. He really just doesn't get that the Lethani and the Latantha path are not about mastery in the sense of being strong enough and powerful enough to impose one's will upon the world, but about allowing the world to shape one's will and actions the way water flows down hill or leaves spin in the wind.
mr. awesome
2. mr. awesome
"Vashet makes him practice while nauseated from the blow, and again he asks to use the sword because he wants to win, again demonstrating his lack of comprehension of the Lethani. She hits him three times on the face."

I never understood why Vashet reacted this way to his request to use the sword. Sword fighting is much more useful than hand to hand fighting when you have the kind of enemies Kvothe does, the type who won't surrender. He needs to be able to protect himself and defend others, and that should be his priority, not trying to keep his enemy alive.

I don't think that gaining the capability to kill is mutually exclusive with being of the Lethani and am not sure why Vashet believes so.
mr. awesome
3. grapnel33
What's the basis for the 72-day month?
mr. awesome
4. grapnel33

Vashet doesn't want to make Kvothe a better fighter. She wants to make him a better person. It's just that the mechanism she has is the ketan on the Lantantha.
mr. awesome
5. Vitiosus
I always liked the scene when he plays music for Vashet. It hit very nicely on the theme in Adem that music is very personal, and so it is easy to understand how Kvothe would choose to bear his soul out this way. Also, I also liked how this showed how indeed his music is just as important as his magic. In the previous chapter you see him prepare his magic, and then in this chapter you see him use his music. And it is ultimatly the music and not the magic that proves more effective in this instance.
Steven Halter
6. stevenhalter
ArtfulMagpie@1:Yes, and it is very much the same problem he has had understanding Elodin. He is really bad at letting go of his conscious mind all through the story. When he lets go and succeeds at various points, the full understanding seems to slip away.
Katy Maziarz
7. ArtfulMagpie
ArtfulMagpie@1:Yes, and it is very much the same problem he has had understanding Elodin. He is really bad at letting go of his conscious mind all through the story. When he lets go and succeeds at various points, the full understanding seems to slip away.

Yup, pretty much! And the fact that he can't seem to make the connection between Spinning Leaf and Sleeping Mind is a bit maddening, too. No, Kvothe, you're not "cheating" at the're just letting your Sleeping Mind out to catch the ball for you! Drat it all!
Steven Halter
8. stevenhalter
grapnel33@3:NotW, chapter 36:
What is the synodic period?”
I looked at him oddly. “Of the moon?” The question seemed a little out of sync with the other two.
He nodded.
“Seventy-two and a third days, sir. Give or take a bit
Chris King
9. KingFielder
Naden's advice that it was better to risk losing his hand than be afraid really jumped out at me. I think we are all convinced that Kvothe has done something to his hand in the frame. What would make Kvothe afraid enough to risk his hand? "Afraid" is not a feeling that I associate with Kvothe. In situations where a normal person would be afraid, Kvothe is anything but. Even in this batch of chapters, when Vashet threatens to stop his training, he gathers the materials he needs to fight his way out against overwhelming odds. The only time I remember Kvothe being afraid (and even then it's for someone else, not himself) is when he is afraid that the materials drained out of the Fishery may have drained to the underthing and harmed Auri. Auri seems to be his soft spot (I mean that in a good way). Wild speculation, but I think Ambrose finding out about and then threatening Auri in some way would be enough for Kvothe to risk his hand. I think the "event" that put Kvothe in his Frame condition may be a much smaller event (protecting Auri) than a grand event (killing the king, fighting the Chandrian, stealing back the moon). Any other ideas on what could make Kvothe be afraid?
mr. awesome
10. Zizoz
IIRC, the months are 44 days. The synodic period is 72 days. I think it very unlikely that months are not related to the moon and the word is only used for familiarity, especially given the use of «span» rather than «week». Hence we can assume that either the synodic period has lengthened since the calendar was designed or the calender has been modified so months no longer match the actual phases of the moon.
mr. awesome
11. grapnel33
This re-read, and all the comments, really delights me and I enjoy it most for showing me all the things I missed reading on my own.
I do not wish to become known as a pedantic picker of nits. Still the chronology of the story nags at me. I like knowing how many days in a month because it helps me judge whether things seem to be going too fast or too slow or just right.
In our world the idea of a month is based on the orbit of the moon. The synodic period is slightly different but comes from the interaction of the motion of the moon and that of the earth. In the world of the Four Corners the moon doesn't orbit, it just floats up there in place and phases back and forth to Faen. If it were to orbit AND shuttle back-n-forth to Faen the phases of the moon would become hellishly complex. But then perhaps they are and it isn't germane to the story we've been reading.
I don't remember anything from the text about how many days, weeks or spans to a month or even the names of all the months. Apparently an appendix to the German edition includes that information (all months are 4 spans long meaning 44 days) and it's in the comments for last week's timeline post. I find that a bit disheartening because the simplicy and regularity af all the months being uniform and exact seems like a failure of imagination. Much like the days of the week simply being called by their numbers, one through seven. At least until the Tehlins added four named days. This supposed failure of imagination troubles me because Rothfuss has written such a rich story filled with so much implication and detail, as near infinite as a fractal coastline and it makes me think I am missing something again. It makes me wonder if the world of the Four Corners was also a constructed thing. Sewn from whole cloth but so long before the creation war that no one knows they were just repeating history.
thistle pong
12. thistlepong

There's textual evidence for 4 span months. Even in just NW, spans are referred to in ones, twos, threes, fives, sixes, and sevens. It was even possible to confirm eight months. The appendix basically filled in four missing day names and most of the names for most of the months.

The Aturan Empire is/was supposed to be unimaginative.
Jo Walton
13. bluejo
Oh, OK. Sorry everyone. A 44 day month.

I expect there's some reason why it's called a month when it's nothing to do with the moon. Like the vintage in Vintas.
Skip Ives
14. Skip
I think one of the things one needs to keep remembering with Kvothe, especially in-frame, is that he is a bright but young man-child. Rothfuss writes Kvothe very well in this. Kvothe is so used to being right and ahead of everyone else in the room that he expects to always be right and always reading things correctly.

Because of this he makes the same mistakes many young men do. He is in such a rush to get to his goal, he misses the larger picture. He hears what people say, but he doesn't listen to them. He is so involved with himself that he forgets about others.

So Vashet's indictment of him really is true, that was the hard part about reading it. As a neutral observer, he is what she accuses him of being. The difference is that Kvothe is not that way because he is a bad person, nor is he trying to steal the Adam secrets. He has a hard dark part of him from the trauma of his childhood and the way he has been treated by the world.

He also has that social disconnect common among young bright teens, especially men. People are used to treating him as an adult, and he is used to being treated as an adult, but he lacks the social awareness of most people his own age. So when he acts cold or unthinking, it is not intentional, he just lacks comprehension of how others will see his actions. That is why he plays for Vashet. Once he realizes that he has been acting like a monster in her eyes he tries to explain himself the only way he can - he plays out his soul to her.

mr. awesome
15. Spirit Theif
I liked how he played his Name to Vashet, and I think this is the third time he used music to play names. The first would be in the Tarbean section, playing on a six-stringed lute and then playing for Denna in the caravan. (Do people think this is just music or Naming?)

Next would be the notes he sang to Ferulian, her name. There's a lot of speculation about singing names in the CTH section.

This would be the third time he sang a Name. Which is pretty cool, considering the theories about how Edema Ruh and Adem relate. A person from a culture where music is a way of life singing to some one where it is a sacred and personal. I absolutely love this scene.
Ashley Fox
16. A Fox
@1 ::amused agreement::

Celean. I got the impression that her actions were not typical for ny old Adem child, meaning that 'even' an Adem child finds the tree easy. Not all children follow a martial path. She does. Not only that but that path is Lathana, path of the sword, she has grown up in Haert, she is rebellious for an Adem, she is not allowed to go under the tree...but does anyway (anyone seeing a reflection of what k may have been like if things had not gone so horriby wrong?), she is grand-daughter to Sheyn. She is picked to partner K not only becuase of a similar skill level, or becuase they have something to learn from one another but also becuase she can be trusted not to hurt him. Its also implied that she can read the summery she is an exceptional young girl, even for an Adem.

This also tied in with a 'single perfect cartwheel'. I do not believe it is to show that all Adem can achive a perfect step...if that was the case we would see much more of it during the various fights we see with older, more skilled Adem. We dont. Only Sheyn, Celean, and K in the frame.
mr. awesome
17. mr. awesome
@4 "Vashet doesn't want to make Kvothe a better fighter. She wants to make him a better person. It's just that the mechanism she has is the ketan on the Lantantha".

I don't really think this is entirely true.

But for the sake of argument, yeah, sure. Even then though, I don't think he did anything wrong by wanting to fight, so she shouldn't have been angry with him. She should have just explained: "No, my job is to make you a better person through hand combat". Instead, she acted as if wanting to work on sword fighting to kill people was inherently wrong, which seems like a wrong idea to me, and also seems to contradict her culture.

Sword fighting and the Lethani can go side by side, she doesn't really indicate why Kvothe's specific desire to sword fight was bad.

I should reread this section though.
John Graham
18. JohnPoint
First: Vashet is upset with Kvothe because he wants to learn to kill, not to be of the Lethani. Yes, using a sword and killing can be “of the Lethani” but they’re means, not ends.

Second: I interpret the single perfect step (or cartwheel) to be the physical equivalent of Naming.

So far we have:

1) Verbal Naming (as demonstrated multiple times by different characters). In order to be able to Name, you have to truly understand the nature of the object/person. You let your sleeping mind take over, and Speak the Name.

2) Musical Naming. We believe that this is what Kvothe does when he plays "three years Waterside in Tarbean" for Denna, when he plays for Vashet, and when he's alone in the forest. This occurs when you let your sleeping mind take over the music and Name via music.

3) Singing Naming. This could be a type of verbal Naming, a type of musical Naming, or perhaps a hybrid of the two. Do we have any confirmed occurrences of Singing? Regardless, we can assume that it's the same process as the other two -- letting your sleeping mind take over and truly understanding whatever you're singing/about.

So I think we can hypothesize that there's also Physical Naming, which could be what is demonstrated by Sheyn, Celean, and frame-K. This would be an instance of letting your sleeping mind take over, and truly understanding the action -- physically Naming a Step (or Cartwheel, or whatever) hence calling it a "single, perfect" action. If a Name is a verbal expression of the true essence of something, than a single perfect action would be the kinesthetic expression of that same true essence.

We can also hypothesize that there might be other expressions of Naming too -- a pictorial Naming (related to Denna's word magic, Yllish knots, or sygaldry perhaps?), a spatial Naming, or many others. This may be related to the theory of Multiple Intelligences, or something similar.
Katy Maziarz
19. ArtfulMagpie
"First: Vashet is upset with Kvothe because he wants to learn to kill, not to be of the Lethani. Yes, using a sword and killing can be “of the Lethani” but they’re means, not ends."

Yes, exactly. There is a big difference between learning to use a sword so that you can kill people, and learning to use a sword so that you can use a sword.

What Kvothe should wish, if he were following the Lethani, is "ars gratia artis," art for art's sake, really. Knowing a thing for the sake of knowing it. And yes, at times you may need to use that knowledge to kill or to harm another. But at other times, using that knowledge may actually prevent the killing or harming of another. Kvothe doesn't want to learn the sword. He wants to learn to kill. And that is not the Lethani.
Steven Halter
20. stevenhalter
It is fairly essential that Kvothe be taught the lessons that he is being taught--like the one by Vashet. If you look back at the story of Jax--there is a parable of a bright young man who never learns these lessons. His focus upon his goal causes much grief.
I think that Kvothe's focus on his revenge goal is one of the things that will lead to his circumstances in the frame story. He doesn't see the forest for the trees and there are other things than trees in that forest.
Jeremy Raiz
21. Jezdynamite
About Naming in Adem culture:

In chapter 115 (Barbarian Cunning), Celean says:

......"Someday I will go there and learn it . I will go everywhere, and I will learn all the Ketans there are. I will learn the hidden ways of the ribbon and the chain and of the moving pool. I will learn the paths of joy and passion and restraint. I will have all of them."

When she talks about the hidden ways of the ribbon, chain and the moving pool, could this be naming?

Hidden way of the ribbon = learning the name of the wind
Hidden way of the chain = learning the name of iron
Hidden way of the moving pool = learning the name of water

The word "hidden", and that they don't use the word "path" to describe the study, drew my attention (and also Rethe's use of the ribbon to float her message to Aethe on the wind).
Ryan Reich
22. ryanreich
Kvothe's continued cluelessness is an interesting literary feature of these books, because it really challenges my immersion as a reader. It is terribly difficult to accept a character lacking in-world knowledge of something that is spelled out directly to me in the metatext and in the context I carry with me as I read the book, especially when they are things that are spoken directly to him. Particularly because fantasy has the capacity to be a 100% just-so story, the lack of genre-savviness in its characters seems really jarring. How can he not know that one must only use one's powers to Look Within? That's basically written on the side of the box that Naming is shipped in. What kind of artificial blindness is responsible for him failing to observe these basic facts?

I don't want to explain this with literary reasons: those would be "artificial blindness". If he's dense because his being normal would make the plot too easy, then the plot is dumb. That's not what's going on. I'd say there are only two good avenues of explanation: first, is this trait just as believable as, say, his spectrum of social adeptness (which goes from zero to infinity in various ways)? And second, is this something that a smart real person would miss under the circumstances?

For the first, Kvothe is a pretty well-described person. He uses his brain to get ahead: not to do things that he likes, but to do things that he thinks are profitable. In the case of the Fishery, literally so. In the case of Adem fighting, he sees it as being the means to the end of winning a fight. His animosity with Ambrose is escalating one-upsmanship where he pits his infinite intellect against Ambrose's fathomless fortune just to prove that he can. I find it easy to overlook this blatant aspect of Kvothe's personality because, identifying with him through also always having been the best student, I figure he should be just as smart as me in noticing his own lack of perspective.

Which brings me to point number two: am I that smart? What in my world is just as big and as obvious as that Names Are Not Mastery and that I miss because I would rather have things my way? One of atheism or religiosity is an example of this, since they both claim to be obvious and opposite. Or, that humankind should weigh environmental costs rather than consider the world its plaything; oppositely, that humankind should exploit the resources of the earth rather than let them moulder and us stagnate because of an excess of caution. Either of these pairs is virtually a direct parallel to Kvothe's situation.

Kvothe has no cautionary model that would tell him that either his path or the Adem/"knowing" path is the correct one. We have a bunch of half-told millenia-old stories, and also perhaps our knowledge of Ursula Le Guin's writing, that we eat up and by which we judge him, so to us his insistence on results sounds like fossil fuels to an environmentalist. But there are no studies at the University that show how use of Shaping leads to an apocalypse of spider-monsters, and lots of devices coming out of the Fishery that show the exact opposite, so perhaps to him, the scolding of Felurian and the Adem sounds like preserving some swamps where he wants to build a mall.

I think his general pigheadedness is actually quite realistic, really.

(Just to clarify: I am not saying that the book is an allegory for or against environmentalism, or religion for that matter. Nor have I revealed whether I myself am for or against either, and that's not what this is about. But from now on, every time I think "How can he not see this?!" I will ask myself if I am sure whether or not God and global warming exist.)
thistle pong
23. thistlepong
That's just fantastic. A couple other things help me with it, too. One, Ambrose is right. Kvothe is a bumpkin with no formal schooling and a distinct lack of socialization. Two, he's a sixteen year old boy who thinks he's smarter than everyone else. That's a group that tends to ignore novel viewpoints with perfect nonchalance.

I'm pretty sure the Haert Latantha is all about the name of the wind. I'm disinclined to believe that the other schools are markedly different in that regard. The Lethani comes down from two folks who clearly had a working relationship with the name of the wind. The way of the ribbon seems like it would be a more meditative focus on the same thing students learn in order to navigate the sword tree.

And, of course, wind is the gateway name:
“Kvothe has called the wind. If we are to believe the writings of those long dead, his is the traditional path. The wind was the name aspiring namers sought and caught when things were studied here so long ago.”
“The name most fledgling namers were encouraged to find was that of the wind. After they found that name, their sleeping minds were roused and finding other names was easier."
I'm coming around to the notion that the old knowers perhaps knew the names of all things and were content with that knowledge. "They knew the fox and they knew the hare, and they knew the space between the two." The fox. The hare. The wind. All of the rest, from plunging one's hand into the heart of a fire to stealing the moon, was the changing of things that they objected to.

Anyway, I wanna cast about in the realm of realism for a moment.

I can sorta see why in a completely different society Kvothe's "embarassing moment" might spin out the events it did. On the other hand, there's really no call for it. It's something that happens all the time, particularly in the midst of intense physical activity. And it does not provide an uncommon distraction. Less so, in fact, than a punch to the groin for either gender or even a full bladder. It's a weird place to call bs. I know that. But I'm calling it. Might be it got under my skin 'cause of the following...

A few days before this went up, someone pointed out their discomfort with the age differences between Kvothe and his sexual partners. I'm not really interested in using charged words in a public forum, but Kvothe is a young fellow. Felurian's sort of off the table, but I ended up reading "Height" about three times and wondered how different the end of the chapter was from a hypothetical high school student.
Normally if I had a question about the Adem culture, I asked Vashet. She was my touchstone. But I could imagine too many ways for that conversation to go astray, and her goodwill was all that stood between me and the loss of my fingers.
By the time I finished eating, I’d decided it would be best to simply follow Vashet’s lead. She was my teacher, after all.
Jonny Dach
24. JDach
In what earth languages were resonances of the Fae language detected?

Sweet poet --> Dulce orator --> Dulator
Jeremy Raiz
25. Jezdynamite

You could be right that learning the name of the wind is at the core of the teachings of the many schools that follow the Latantha, but it doesn't seem right that a school teaching the sword would learn the name of the wind.

If learning the name of the wind was the core of the school, I'd expect the Adem mercenaries from the Latantha school to be famous across the world for many centuries for knowing the name of the wind, as well as fighting. Many people we come across in Haert speak with pride about the Lethani and the third stone as the learning goals of the school, not the wind.

Vashet mentions there are over 3 dozen paths, and the Latantha is just one of them. I'm more inclined to believe the hidden ways relate to Naming. In my opinion, the path of restraint seems more suited to the meditation you talk about, rather than the hidden way of the ribbon.

One could just as easily say the name of Stone was at the core of the Lathantha path because of their Stone rituals, the prevalence of stones in their harsh landscape and their ability to fashion stone in their walls into "seemingly" one piece.

If Kvothe was at the Aethe school (which I'm guessing is still a school of bow and arrow), then I'd be more likely to change my opinion.
mr. awesome
26. KyleLitke
Slightly off topic, but last week it was mentioned that the paperback was being released. Is an actual smaller paperback being released for the book? I have the book on my Nook and wanted a paperback copy as well, but the only one I could find (and the only one I see online) is the 20 dollar large paperback, which is not at all what I was looking for. Anyone have any idea?
George Brell
27. gbrell
Note: One of the chapter titles is different in the published version - they are also numbered 116-121.

Chapter 118 (which is 116 in Jo's book) is titled Purpose rather than Iron Worth Striking.

Also, that chapter has Vashet's demonstration of control precede Kvothe watching Celean dancing amongst the sword tree's branches. The line about the Benton's sheep ends the chapter.
mr. awesome
28. David DeLaney
Dear Tor:

I was unhappy and frustrated to find out that my anticipated purchase of the paperback edition of the Wise Man's Fear this week would not be happening; when I finally got the bookstore to look for it, since it wasn't on the shelves, it turned out they had been sent a TRADE paperback edition instead.

This means it's going to be at least another year before I can buy and read the second volume of this trilogy, and means Tor isn't getting money from me for this book this week.

It also means, I presume, that it's going to be at least TWO years before I get to buy the last volume in paperback, and that it's going to be that long before I can START reading this series of blog posts from the beginning; I will miss out on all the interactions with the vibrant and lively community that has apparently grown up here, except as fossilized several-year-old comments. This also makes me sad.

Isn't it time to admit that making your customers wait a whole year, or two years, does NOT in any way boost the sales of the hardback or the trade paperback, or cause conversion to a size they didn't want to purchase for more than a very small fraction of your buyers, and to allow us to purchase the format we WANT the book in right from the start? It was bad enough when it was a year's wait from hardback to paperback; adding the trade paperback in the middle, with an additional year's delay, makes it maddening.

--Dave, carefully not reading the post this comment is to be attached to
Steven Halter
29. stevenhalter
JDach@24:That's a very interesting pairing.
Sweet poet --> Dulce orator --> Dulator
I like it. (Even if PR didn't intend it I like it). Now I'm going to have to look at Fae with that sort of language drift in mind.
John Graham
30. JohnPoint
@28 Dave DeLaney-- while I sympathize with your concern about not being able to buy a regular sized paperback at this time, I would recommend looking at your local library for a copy of the hardcover. Even if there is a waitlist and it takes a month or two, you should be able to read it long before next spring. Then, when the paperback comes out, you can get your own personal copy.

Similarly, when Day Three comes out, get on the request list at the library right away, and you should be able to read it relatively soon after it's published.
Kristoff Bergenholm
31. Magentawolf
@28 -

This is very much the reason why I absolutely detest the practice of publishing Trade 'Paperbacks'. If I wanted a bloody giant $18-20 book, I would've bought the hardback in the first place.
Jo Walton
32. bluejo
Dave: It's not a Tor book, it's a DAW book, so, um, go and complain to them. Complain for me while you're there. Doing this re-read means I have to carry the thing around all the time so I was literally counting the weeks until the paperback. Dammit.

As I said on my LJ the other day, I'm considering buying a Kindle largely so I won't have to carry WMF with me to Europe.
Jo Walton
33. bluejo
Ryanreich: That's a really thought provoking meditation on missing things. Thank you.
thistle pong
34. thistlepong
Jo, I support you getting a Kindle. WMF (along with dozens of other books) has never weighed more than a pound for me.
Ryan Reich
35. ryanreich
@Jo: Thank you, too!

I definitely encourage the Kindle option; that device is the only reason I have these books at all. I have no space for big hardcovers and that little piece of plastic is the ultimate paperback.
mr. awesome
36. David DeLaney
>It's not a Tor book, it's a DAW book, so, um, go and complain to them.

... oops. Hearty apologies to Teresa etc., though my sentiments do apply to various and sundry Tor series/books as well. So now I gotta go figure out DAW contact procedures to go along with the Penguin ones ("When are we getting an actual MMPB-sized version of the last two Codex Alera books, please, sheesh?").

I do know about the library option and have occasionally taken it. I shouldn't be forced to take it for _every_ book I want to read that comes out first in hardback, though. (Or, worse, comes out first in trade paperback and then never gets a real paperback at all...)

Will stop off-topicing the thread now!

--Dave, see y'all later
mr. awesome
37. DEL
I think this is where we start to see the CTH influence. Kvothe seems more selfish, less open minded, more mean. He hasn't lost all of his redeeming qualities.

In the books to this point, he was playing a beautiful game. Kind to his friends, hard on himself, and open minded to a point. Now he seems to be gathering info for his obession.

Maybe I'm just believing what I want to believe, because he ceratinly did some psycho shit in Tarbean, and at the outlaw camp, but those were in extremis.

I am completely floored about why he doesn't pay more attention to Spinning Leaf.

PS I missed the CTH post, you guys had some fabulous insights! I stand by my theory that the Lethani provides a way out from the CTH influence and determinism. CTH is playing him, sending him to the one place that could help Kvothe evade his trap....if Kvothe hadn't been mind-poisoned by revenge and ideas of his Lady love being beaten.

I won't even get into the way CTH sets up Kvothe in denying D her own agency and choice in putting up with the beating, and instead instills in him traditional, "i must protect her for her own good" ideas. Hmm, interesting how Amyr attitudes abound.

PPS: I miss Auri, Kvothe was a better person around Auri and becoming even more the bright and shining person underneath. Just goes to show, we can get addicted to those who can be bad for us and ignore those who are good for us.
Chris King
38. KingFielder
One more suggestion for Dave. Buy a used copy of the hardcover. Here's a whole bunch at (which is a site someone with your exacting standards for book price and format should familiarize himself with). The cheapest is $5.35 plus $3.99 shipping.
Philbert de Zwart
39. philbert
@28. David DeLaney and @32. Bluejo:
If you have an Android telephone, all your worries are over!
Purchase the Aldiko app. It's the greatest ereader app on Android (only for Android I'm afraid)

In it, you can purchase Rothfuss' books. 'The Name of the Wind' is only 8 dollars something, though 'The Wise Man's Fear' is twenty-ish. Thoroughly worth it of course, because it means you always have the books with you (which is how in my hectic life I'm rereading for the third time) in a searchable format!

Personally, I love reading on my phone. I read at night in bed, with the screen reversed (white letters on black) with the lowest light intensity. When I get tired I just switch off the phone, shove it under my pillow and close my eyes!
Ashley Fox
40. A Fox
::wicked grin::

In the UK the paperback is only a little fatter than NotW paperback and about £6 . May be worth paying that wee bit extra for shipping and buying it from Amazon Uk or somesuch...would be about the same price as buying an USA Tradep/b with shipping. (Ive done the reverse whn USA release dates are a month or two before UK)

Oh and urgh digital, NO! The smells, the shelves, the accumulating library hugging your home, the random debris between pages that remind you of that stormy day and hobnob and the first time you read that book,the art covered in artless seduction, the feel of pages with various ages, the guilty snap as you crack the back, the solemn weight of old friends or the glinting offer of new, the burning transcience transfered adamantly. Books, not data!
thistle pong
41. thistlepong
Naw. Books are heavy and they smell funny. Worst of all, they have neither built in dictionaries nor are they linked to Wikipedia.
Jo Walton
42. bluejo
A Fox: That's my other plan. I'm going to be in Britain, I could get the UK edition. The only problem with this is that if for some reason I can't find it there isn't going to be a post that week, which is the kind of worry that stresses me out. Of course there are giant piles of it in every Waterstones -- but what if there aren't?

Philbert: No phone. Hate phones. Having a phone just encourages people to call you.
Ryan Reich
43. ryanreich
The ability to do a full-text search of these books has been extremely helpful to me in following this reread. (See my Jan. 1 reply for incriminating evidence.)
Ashley Fox
44. A Fox
@ Bluejo. Lololol you could call ahead to the Waterstones in Gatwick and reserve a copy :D Does this mean you are touring then? May have to buy your book (Ive been accumalating a book budget for latest Hobb, Lynch+) and pop along.

I can see the benefit of text searching....but I rely on good old fashioned dog-earing, even been tempted to reach for the highlighter and colour code themes. But didnt want turn future pleasure reading into something trippy.
mr. awesome
45. Generalist
@Ryanreich: Kvothe's cluelessness has a cause that's both natural and literary - he's telling his own story. By the time of the frame, he regrets (or at least second-guesses) his previous actions. He has composed a tale that emphasizes the clues he feels his earlier self should have picked up on. I also feel that when we tell stories about our previous selves we tend to simplify our understanding and motivations - here I imagine Kvothe as a smart sixteenager thinking occasionally "maybe I shouldn't go out of my way to piss off Ambrose today". Those moments, however, didn't fit in the story Kvothe wants to tell.

I understand Rothfuss added the frame after constructing a complete version of Kvothe's story. I suspect that the ability to have Kvothe coyly slip foreshadowing into his tale appealed to Rothfuss and was a large part of his decision.

Jo Walton
46. bluejo
A Fox: I'm not touring, I'm just visiting family. Though I will be at Eastercon.
mr. awesome
47. Hero
The same friend who told me to read PR in the first place, just told me about this reread earlier this week. I've now caught up with all the posts, and it has been a joy! It's so nice to run across books that are equally engaging to discuss as they are to read. (I'm a librarian with an adult book club, so I spend an inordinate amount of time think about this.) Anyhow, this has been great!

Oh, and I am contractually obligated to tell all of you that getting books from the library is awesome!

And I'm personally obligated to recommend to all of you thinking about buying a Kindle that you should look at the Nook instead.
Hero Canton
48. HeroineOfCanton
Oops. I officially joined the site after posting my comment, so I didn't realize Hero was already taken. HeroineOfCanton now.
mr. awesome
49. wickedkinetic
On the paperback thing, well, 400,000 words is going to be big, heavy, and expensive, no matter what cover they put it in. When books get that long and big, manufacturing expenses become a much bigger factor, driving the price up.... not to mention the distribution costs of that much size/weight.....

On the wrong-ness of sword-fighting - I thought the first problem was more along the lines of 'You don't know how to walk yet, I ain't giving you a sharp point object to hurt yourself with.' And then when he said I want to use a sword to kill people, he showed just a flash of his lifelong vengeance project to find and kill the Chandrian - something he keeps very close to the vest. Is it of the Lethani to hunt and kill the all-powerful evildoers?

But yeah, I agree that Kvothe doesn't get is because he's a teenager. And unlike trope-faithful fantasy, teenagers aren't heroic figures that get everything right by accident, they are vengeful, selfish, arrogant, dense, hormone-driven rampant troublemakers...... (it does make things more interesting....)

I also note that perhaps his later philandering nature is driven more from his adopting of Adem cultural norms, rather than Felurian releasing him as a rampant sexual being (or typical college student...) - as 1 barmaid is hardly a pattern -
thistle pong
50. thistlepong
I dunno. Kvothe goes from zero to "one woman with many faces" in WMF and the tipping point is Felurian. He almost goes for it seconds after stepping into the Inn when he returns.
Rob Munnelly
51. RobMRobM
@48. Perhaps we should call you Jayne for short, eh?
James Hogan
52. Sonofthunder
Jo - definitely the UK paperback is the way to go. Speaking of you being in UK, going to be anywhere in Scotland perhaps??
mr. awesome
53. kwant
This may be a bit out of left field, but how bout this: The story Kvothe is telling to Chronicler is Kvothe's own 'message in a bottle'. Who would it be to? What is the message? What will it accomplish? I have some ideas, but lets review the pieces that bring me to this conclusion:

1) Kvothe is a story teller. He is proud of his (supposed) Edema Ruh blood, and knows his way around a story. Anything he says in his account of himself is no accident, even if it appears to be in error, self serving, etc.
2) Kvothe goes to great lengths at the beginning of the book to have Chronicler swear he will record Kvothe's word EXACTLY.
3) Kvothe's story has to have some made up parts. He can't remember conversations word for word, and the amount of money he had at any time, regardless of how excellently formed his memory was. The narrative is by no means an accurate historical record.
4) Kvothe has been known to spread inaccurate stories about himself, or encourage the spread of them. Kvothe isn’t exactly trustworthy.
5) The theme of stories usually having only a 'kernel of truth' has surfaced many times before.

Almost all of Kingkiller so far isn’t Patrick Rothfuss telling us a story about Kvothe... it is Kvothe telling Chronicler a story about Kvothe. All the little clues we're finding hidden in the narrative aren't Patrick foreshadowing and weaving a tight story for us. They're Kvothe leaving clues for the readers of his story INSIDE of the frame. Clues for who? Chronicler? The eventual readers of his biography? Who?!?!?!

Chronicler's account will undoubtedly be published and spread like wildfire. Even in wartime (or after) people will be interested in this story. This seems like a perfect way for Kvothe to send a message, hidden in the narrative, to the four corners. Perhaps someone close to the story will recognize the fabricated parts of the story and that will serve as some message or clue to that person? Perhaps someone close to the story will glean some important missing piece of information from the story and be able to come to Kvothe's aid with the new knowledge. Perhaps the entire 3rd book will be false, and will further some great cause, and the next trilogy will slowly clear up the truth (as Kote becomes Kvothe and finishes his journey).

Kvothe can and will lie. The story isn't entirely trustworthy. Where is the 'kernel of truth' that Kvothe is weaving in? Where is our Edema Ruh water and wine secret?

Kvothe demands that Chronicler record his story precisely as it is told, and Chronicler goes to great lengths to indicate how precisely he can record a story. Perhaps Kvothe's insistence on precision isn't just to avoid any embellishments or alterations for the sake of a story, but to prevent an unknowing Chronicler from inadvertently changing the subtle subtext that Kvothe is weaving into the story.

The end of WMF indicates that perhaps he wants his name (and whatever else is in the chest) back but can no longer access it. There may be someone out there who holds the key, or something that he no longer knows or remembers or some magical something or other that can unlock the chest. The story may be his expertly crafted message in a bottle.

Perhaps, even, the story is the sort of thing Denna talked about at the Eolian one night: written words that, when read, can cast a spell.

The idea is wild and the post meandering, but perhaps someone else will pick up on the same threads and draw something of interest from it.
mr. awesome
54. generalist
Rothfuss introduces several layers of distance between the story as printed in our books and the actual events. There's the first person POV, the time between the events in Kvothe's story and the frame, Kvothe's history of lying, his strongly emphasized insistence on Chronicler's fidelity to Kvothe's spoken word, and Kvothe's hidden motivations in telling the story.

This setup reminds me strongly of Umberto Eco's description of how he distanced himself from his "The Name of the Rose" by stating he was recreating his translation of a story that he only had briefly. I tried to find the actual quote, but couldn't.

With the Kingkiller Chronicles, Rothfuss uses these distortions of the story to keep information from us and to create ambiguity, keeping us guessing about the ending. This is a much more satisfying story because it doesn't have a third person omniscient POV.

Hero Canton
55. HeroineOfCanton
Feel free to call me Jayne! LOL.

Also, kwant and Chris, I love your theories! I have no idea if they're right and I wouldn't want to bet on them, but how interesting!

Gosh, that's a lot of exclams for one comment. Sorry about that. I'll try to restrain myself in the future.
J Melick
56. Rudolph
Hey all. I've been following the re-read and am finally caught up. (phew)

I think we've discarded something important - Vashet's Poet King.

We know K is a's the title of the series. Other than a few mentions of the King of Vint, the Poet King is by far the king we know the most about. This seems to be to be foreshadowing that he will be important. PR has had two books to lead up to the King that's guess is we whoever it is, we've heard of him already. And the fact that his sword is called the Poet Killer by some can't be a coincidence.

I can see Vintas trying to conquer the small kingdoms, the Maer sending K to assist in return for info on Chandrian/Amyr, and K killing the poet king there. We know he's had some training from Vashet...this could lead to a great duel between the two.

The Ambrose/Maer theory is plausible to me as well...but I really think that PR wouldn't have mentioned the poet king so much if it wasn't going to be important.
George Brell
57. gbrell

I don't think we've discarded it. Frankly speaking, there aren't really that many poets in the series.

I think that most people believe Ambrose to be the poet-killed, based on the repeated references made in the text to his family's high ranking in the Vintish line of succession, his antagonism with Kvothe and his oft-documented creation of bad poetry.

Vashet's poet king is certainly another option, and has the Chekhov's gun quality of putting poet and king in the same phrase. But remember that the only thing we have connecting poet and kingkiller is a random reference to Caesura. Then again, we've certainly hung our hats on less tenuous threads before.

I've also put forth the idea that Kvothe killed Sim, who I think is the only other poet we've seen whose poetry we've actually read, but that idea depresses me significantly.
thistle pong
58. thistlepong

Sim's also the only person in both books that Kvothe says he loves, and trusts. I'm curious to find out what he does to deserve it.
Alf Bishai
59. greyhood
Hi Jo -
I miss your summaries of strong comments at the beginning of each thread. With the number of comments swelling each week, combined with my sense that we really have uncovered a lot of what is going on...well, I miss your summaries. I personally check the posts every three or four days, and if I see there are 78 new comments, I go 'aieee!' and then skip to the comments that shalter comments on.

(Also, it's so much fun to try and write a comment that might get summarized.)

Thanks for moderating!
Alf Bishai
60. greyhood
@53 - kwant: great post. As I was reading it I couldn't help thinking of Auri. We've speculated she might be dead because K. would never give away her secret if she were alive. Another possibility, though: what if she doesn't even EXIST. She's a person with no name, no history, is unfindable, cannot be spoken about, and whom no one ever meets. No one, that is, except...

John Graham
61. JohnPoint
Greyhood --

Auri might not exist... interesting to think about!

Mola meets her too, doesn't she?
Jo Walton
62. bluejo
Greyhood: I still do it sometimes. It depends if I am excited about them. Also, how much time I have.
George Bracken
63. jorgybear
Off topic, but: Croggled. What a lovely word.
Kate Hunter
64. KateH
I have a theory about Naming, Spinning Leaf, the Lethani and the Adem. Bear with me, it's a bit lengthy but I hope will be worth the read.

The Adem clearly have Namers and know about Names and Naming. The two Adem who originated the Lethani were Namers who knew the name of the wind, and at least one of these commanded the wind through Naming. Magwyn, their master namer, is greatly and universally honored. Yet in Kvothe's time we never see anyone in Ademre command anything by means of Names. The Lethani is the central guiding principle in Adem culture. It teaches the Adem to know right from wrong, but gives no absolutes that apply in all situations.

I think Aethe and Rethe argued over whether or not Naming should ever be used to command anything, and probably how it should be taught. The third line of Rethe's poem is:
Without duty, the wind
This could be interpreted in different ways. The wind has no sense of duty but acts according to its nature. The wind should have no duty. The wind has no duty, and therefore no Namer has the right to command it.

When K is at the sword tree for his test he puts himself into Spinning Leaf, the mental state he came up with to try to come to grips with the Lethani. Spinning Leaf is clearly effective for this purpose. Tempi and Shehyn are satisfied with answers given from this state. Vashet says it's obvious that he understands the Lethani, that this can't be faked. Even when K protests that he doesn't understand and used the "trick" of Spinning Leaf to answer, Vashet replies that he has cleverly tricked them by pulling the answers from his own mind. This is pretty conclusive - K's Spinning Leaf gives him access to the Lethani, even when his normal mental state can't grasp the Lethani.

Back to his test at the sword tree. He's in Spinning Leaf and can read the Name of the wind as clear as anything. He knows he could still the wind and make things easy for himself, but he decides that this would not be the right thing to do. Then he gets angry, falls out of Spinning Leaf and loses the Name of the wind. Then he laughs, losing his anger and can see the Name of the wind again. But this time he's not in Spinning Leaf. And so mere minutes after deciding it wouldn't be right to still the wind - and while still in the same situation, the midst of his test/trial - he does exactly that. He stills the wind and completes his test.

Let's compare the sleeping mind concept (which I believe was developed by Elodin, not handed down from a long line of Master Namers), Naming as taught at the university, Spinning Leaf, and the Lethani. The big difference between University teaching and Adem teaching is apparently an ethical one. Sleeping mind and (uni) Naming say nothing at all about right vs. wrong. The Adem evaluate everything in light of the Lethani. The Adem name things, but they do not (so far as we have seen) use Names to exert control over things. They are not ignorant about Names giving power over things. Both Spinning Leaf and sleeping mind give K access to Names. But only one of those states helps him see right from wrong.

Think back to the bandit camp, after it's been discovered, but before the attack. K asks Tempi how he would deal with the situation. Tempi says kill some now, some later, return to the Maer when they're all done. K asks if there's any other way to get the job done that night and Tempi says there's no way that's of the Lethani. Then K handles things his way and gets the job done that night. Ergo, it follows that K's way was not of the Lethani. K's actions would not be correct in the eyes of the Adem. Yes, we could say Tempi was simply ignorant of the powers at K's disposal and maybe he would have used them the way K did if they'd been available to Tempi. But I think that's a stretch. Alternatively, we have Shehyn's knowledge (from Tempi) that Cinder/a Rhinta was among the bandits, and that K used "blood magic" to deal with the situation. Tempi didn't know about Cinder while discussing how to handle the bandits with K, so maybe in light of the Rhinta, blood magic was acceptable and of the Lethani after all. Vashet Shehyn says he will be right to "use all things" against the Rhinta. But using blood magic against ordinary men would probably not be of the Lethani.

I think it's rather astonishing that the University pays so little attention to right and wrong with regard to the various magics that are taught there. Kilvin does have his principles, no doubt. And malfeasance is much abhorred. But for an institution that supposedly worries about its reputation and has seen its members executed for flimsy reasons and due to ignorant superstition in the past, there's a remarkable lack of attention to ethics. You'd think an institution that puts that sort of power in the hands of students would have a mandatory introductory class that drills a set of rules into the heads of every student, before they're turned loose to learn anything. But no such class is required. Elodin devotes no time at all to issues of right and wrong. Why not? Malfeasance can be used to cover all manner of wrongdoing it seems. But there's also some debate about exactly what qualifies as malfeasance. If this is such a critical issue, why isn't it thoroughly discussed, explained, and inculcated at the university?

What if the Lethani teaches (among many other things) that using a Name to command something is not right, or nearly always wrong? What if K finally absorbs this concept and chooses to follow it? I'm not suggesting that he didn't royally screw things up with magic or by other means to be revealed in book 3. But what if it's the teachings of the Lethani itself that are (at least partly) now keeping him from using his magical skills? In the frame he clearly tried to use sympathy against the skindancer, though he failed. Sympathy might be of the Lethani against a Rhinta or whatever it was. Is there any other example in the frame of K trying to use his magic? (I think the bottle breaking was involuntary.)

Clearly the Adem have among them adepts at Naming, but I think they would regard the line from the Taborlin the Great story with horror:
Taborlin knew the names of all things, and so all things were his to command.
This would not be a logical or ethical inference at all among the Adem. No one outside of Ademre seems to give this a second thought. If you have power it's perfectly fine to exert it, apparently. If Taborlin had followed the Lethani, how would his story go? Stillness, silence and restraint are the heart of Ademre. Naming something in the sense of knowing it is of the Lethani. Commanding something with its Name (usually) is not.

Finally, what's the very, very last thing that happens in WMF? Previously, I read K's one perfect step as evidence that he has somehow shed his fatalism and is choosing to at least try to reclaim his skills and powers. But now I'm not sure. He may be practicing the Ketan as a discipline that connects with the Lethani, in effect re-affirming a set of values he's trying to live by through physical practice.

I think PR is building towards a conclusion that will turn on the ethical use of power. NotW and WMF have shown the development of K's mind, his skills, his knowledge and his power. So far there have only been hints at his sense of right and wrong, and he's made a lot of bad or questionable decisions. I think there has to be a great deal of moral development yet to come in D3. He already has at least some of the pieces of this moral framework. He'll put them together in D3.

(Edited to correct an error: not Vashet, but Shehyn.)
thistle pong
65. thistlepong
If there's ever a Summary Part 21, it should be about that post.
Kate Hunter
66. KateH
If you're referring to my pontification about the Lethani and ethics, thistlepong, then wow, that's flattering. I'd like to see another speculative summary on any number of topics. But it would be fun to see if anyone can poke holes in this theory.
John Graham
67. JohnPoint
Kate @64:

Very interesting theory. In many ways, this would track with the Namer/Shaper distinction that we've discussed before, as it develops out of Felurian's story. "Namers" know names, which makes them understand but don't seek to change them (they don't seek "mastery"). "Shapers", on the other hand, know the names of things, but also seek mastery and the ability to change the things.

We've speculated before that the Naming taught at the University is actually "Shaping" (sensu Felurian), since they -- to some extent -- seek control or mastery over the items (whether it's calling the wind, allowing your hand to sit in coals without injury, or converting a stone into a ring). It's quite possible that the 4C culture might be descended from the Shaper side of the Creation War.

If that is the case, then it makes sense that the Adem/Lethani version of Naming could reflect the Naming side of the Creation War, and that perhaps the Adem are descended from the original Namers (again, sensu Felurian). We've regularly discussed whether the Namers/Shapers became Mortal/Fae, but the idea of Ademre being (descended from) Namers and the 4C descending from Shapers is quite intriguing. This would also open the possibility of Aethe/Rethe being an allegorical story of the Creation War, instead a literal story of the founding of the Adem schools.

As an aside (and I'm not sure how it fits in to your idea) -- there is a possibility that Ademic construction inolves some type of shaping. Kvothe notices how nicely the stones of the buildings fit together, such that he can't find a single joint between stones and it appears that the building is built out of one single stone. Someone (unfortunately I don't remember who) proposed that this might be because the building was Shaped out of stone. Or perhaps they are just really good stonemasons...
Steven Halter
68. stevenhalter
KateH@64:In this post:
PR talks about what Kvothe and Elodin's alignments (as in D&D) might be. His first response for Kvothe is Chaotic Good and his first reponse for Elodin is Chaotic Neutral to Neutral. He then prevaricates a bit and admits that it is more complex than that.
The Neutral portion of Elodin's nature fits in with your observation that Elodin is unconcerned with the morality/ethics of Naming.

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