Thu
Mar 29 2012 2:00pm

Rothfuss Reread: The Wise Man’s Fear, Part 24: Hell Breaking Loose

Welcome to my extremely detailed reread of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. This week’s post covers chapters 127-132 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. The timeline.

The Department of Imaginary Linguistics have got a word list up — well done Jhirrad and Shalter, this is really excellent.

 

Chapter 127 (129) is Interlude — Din of Whispering

The sound of lots of people talking about the Chandrian.

We left our hero in Heart hearing Sheyhn reciting the names of the Chandrian, and we’re jerked back into the frame now by Bast yelling “Reshi!” and actually lifting his hands as if to put them to K’s mouth to stop him. This tells us several things, first that the Chandrian are still out there and summonable, that therefore whatever Kvothe did that broke things didn’t get rid of them, that Bast knows about them, and that Bast is afraid of them. Bast and K then have an exchange where K asks who taught him name lroe, as if implying that he did himself (so it must have been part of what he’s been teaching him, no?) but Bast says all Fae children know not to speak these things aloud, because some things can tell when and where their names are spoken.

K then says there’s small harm in saying a name once, and elaborates on the Adem rule of a thousand miles and a thousand days. Chronicler asks if this is real, and K says it is and this would definitely seem to connect to what happened the Kvothe’s troupe. K says once is like one footstep not making a trail. But K has said Cinder’s true name twice now as part of this story — Ferula when Haliax is talking, and Ferule now. This might meant hat Cinder is dead (killed an angel?) or it might mean that Cinder might show up in D3.

Chronicler asks if they could show up because he’s been talking about them, K says not without names. But then he says that

With all the hell that’s breaking loose in the world these days you can believe people are telling old stories more often.

Does this imply that the hell that’s breaking loose is connected with the Chandrian? I mean, so that people know that? I’m assuming it is actually connected because I’m assuming that the story K is telling is connected. Bast tells him to be careful, K says he has been careful for years, and it might be useful sometime for them to be written down — definitely implying long term continued presence and thread of Chandrian — and that if what Bast says about the CTH then everything will end badly no matter what. Bast looks at Chronicler for support, and Chronicler says apparently out of nowhere that he only knows the name of iron and that Master Namer said he was a waste of time.

In the scenario we discussed where Chronicler is more than he seems and has an agenda, and possibly K is playing a beautiful game by telling the story, this appeal would be very significant. They are looking at him for an opinion on the CTH, ending badly, and speaking the names of the Chandrian, and he’s not giving it — he’s changing the subject to his lack of prowess at naming, and they have a conversation about how rude Elodin was to him. Well, the “Master Namer”, Elodin doesn’t get name checked here. We also have no idea when this happened. K says it’s a pity they were never at University at the same time. Chronicler says it’s true that he was a papery little scriv. K asks what has changed. Chronicler says he had his eyes opened. K asks how, exactly, and Chronicler is visibly surprised. He says he left in a snit and learned more in a month on the road than in University. K quotes Teccam on walking until not one person knows your name.

So Chronicler has comprehensively changed the subject, and we never get back to it. And I wonder what K was really asking, with that “exactly”. If he was opening a door to Chronicler saying “Since I got my Amyr t-shirt” or something of that nature, which Chronicler slid away from. Or they could just be chatting about the benefits of chasing the wind, who knows.

 

Chapter 128 (130) is Wine and Water

The Edema Ruh hospitality custom, of course.

We’re back in the story, and on Kvothe leaving Haert. He has been there “less than two months” for anyone keeping track of time — 44 day months. He’s sad to leave, surprised at how far he has put roots down, says goodbye to everyone, but is glad to be on the road towards Alveron and his well deserved reward, and D and a belated apology.

Five days later he was “on the edge of the map” in Eastern Vintas. We had zero description of this landscape last time, and we’re skipping over it again now. Gah.

Then he finds what appears to be an Edema Ruh troupe, which would be the first ones he had seen since his own were killed. They look right, and they stop being suspicious of him as soon as they see his lute case, and they know the water and wine custom, but they turn out to be brigands in disguise, with stolen girls kept as sex slaves.

This chapter begins one of the most difficult episodes in the book. K tells us what he does, but not why until afterwards, so it comes to a surprise to us. Also, you’d think that killing a troupe, however false, would be more difficult after seeing his own troupe killed. Now of course, he sees them as a travesty and as harmful to his real people. But even so, what he does is at best vigilante justice and at worst unnecessarily cruel. It’s easy to read it and go along with it, and he certainly rescues the girls and takes them home. But I think it’s worth thinking through all the implications of the way he acts here.

I’ve been thinking about those people who think I’m too hard on Kvothe. It’s not that I don’t like him, and it’s not that I’m not beguiled by his storytelling and his confiding tone. I can see how easy it is to slide along with that. But here in particular because of the way Rothfuss shapes this story, with Kvothe’s self recrimination and examination at the end of all of it, I think we’re being deliberately asked what kind of a hero he is — as well as a hero who fails, he’s a hero who has hard choices and doesn’t always do the right thing. The author isn’t necessarily on his side in the way that we are used to in fantasy. I mean it’s an awful situation, two prisoners, vastly outnumbered, and in the middle of nowhere and out of reach of actual law — and if he left them to get help they’d have moved on before he came back. What could he do? Aral Vorkosigan says to Miles in The Vor Game that what he did was a right thing to do, maybe not the right thing, but the thing he could do in that moment. This is how I feel about most of what Kvothe does here.

There’s a lot in this chapter of Kvothe saying one thing and meaning another. When he poisons the stew he says “Anyone who doesn’t enjoy this fine stew is hardly one of the Ruh” and so on.

 

Chapter 129 (131) is Black by Moonlight

As soon as he’s in his tent with the two girls, he gives them a counter-toxin to the poison he put in the stew and the ale. Ellie is in shock and drinks it and sleeps, Krin is distrustful but takes it anyway. She reminds him of D.

There’s a solid crescent of moon. He kills all of them, one of them stabs him, it’s all very messy. He has a gut wound and is a long way from civilization. (He might as well wish for the moon as the Medica.)

We have at this point had absolutely no explanation for the massacre.

 

Chapter 130 (132) is The Broken Circle

The belly wound turns out to be shallow. Krin wakes up and sees him hammering horseshoes to brand the dead with the broken circle. He tells her what he’s doing — when the Ruh go bad they are killed and branded with the broken circle. It’s rare because it’s rarely needed. Alleg isn’t dead and he admits he was a guard with some real Ruh, they were killed, the brigands got the wagons and he told them the customs. This made it “ten times worse.” He has made oatmeal, but neither he nor Krin wants to eat.

These are short shocking chapters.

 

Chapter 131 (133) is Dreams

Kvothe hides the wagons in the forest, removes the Ruh markings and loads up the horses with valuables. They walk and lead the horses.

Kvothe goes into a waking dream about talking to Vashet about the Lethani — specifically about doing the wrong thing and succeeding.

Krin makes dinner while he sets up a tent. They coax Ellie to eat. She’s in deep shock — through the doors of madness in Kvothe’s terminology. They sleep in the tent, he sleeps outside. He has awful dreams. He has never before killed people up close and coldly.

 

Chapter 132 (134) is The Road to Levinshir

Of course it isn’t on the map. Severen isn’t even on the map. Why would you expect anything to be on the map?

They go slowly towards Levinshir. The horses are a pain. Ellie is a pain. Kvothe feels guilty about leaving Alleg a waterskin, which will keep him alive and in agony longer. He says it’s the most terrible thing he’d ever done. In his dreams, he kills his own troupe. He wonders what Vashet would think about what he had done. Then he wakes from a nightmare to find Ellie having a nightmare about what happened, and he says he tried to think of worse things he could have done to them and never felt guilty again. “Sometimes I think of Alleg and smile.”

I feel that it isn’t necessary to get revenge on bad people by being as bad as they are, and that he’s really going too far here.

When they get back, they realise that their parents will be furious and nobody will want to marry them because they have been raped. Ellie says she hates men. Kvothe can only say that he’s a man and they’re not all like that.

And we’ll stop there and continue with them getting to Levinshir and then Kvothe getting back to Severen 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.

103 comments
Julia Mason
1. DrFood
This was a difficult section for me as well. It was a little easier on reread, but still difficult. I think you could say he did what he felt was the right thing, for the greater good, as it were. The toxin he had was the only one available to him.
David Thomson
2. ZetaStriker
Was I the only one who knew exactly what and why Kvothe was doing? I thought it was very clear he was rescuing rape victims by the time he went into the tent with them at least.
Katy Maziarz
3. ArtfulMagpie
"I thought it was very clear he was rescuing rape victims by the time he went into the tent with them at least."

I figured out something was wrong almost immediately...Alleg gives Kvothe some ale, and says they stole it in Levinshir. Boom. Problem. We know for a fact that real Ruh don't steal from the townsfolk...people only THINK they do. Continuing on, he keeps talking about what they've stolen, asking the old woman if she stole some pepper for the stew. They laugh when Kvothe sings them a song about a piper who kills a farmer and then seduces the dead man's wife. None of this feels at all like what we've been told about life in a Ruh troop. I was increasingly disquieted, reading all those little off-handed mentions of thieving, and Kvothe not even seeming to notice. I thought it was a fairly nice build-up to the revelation of the bruised and battered women...by the time they showed up, I already knew everything wasn't as it seemed and was almost ready for it when Kvothe went all cold-blooded-killer on the "troupe"....
arcticcivvie
4. arcticcivvie
I was waiting for the re-read to get to this point, because I wanted to ask a question.

Based on the way the chapter is written, it seems that Kvothe must have poisoned the stew and drinks before he even met the girls they had imprisoned. It seems to me that the only opportunity he had was when he was tasting the stew and getting a drink, way before anything sketchy happened. So what was it that tipped Kvothe off to them being a fake troupe? I don't have the book in front of me, but I remember rereading the chapter several times looking for that. Did I miss something? Or am I reading too much into it?
George Brell
5. gbrell
There's a lot here (and in the next set of chapters).

One thing that I am interested in doing is reading the original "Road to Levinshir." It was published in a collection a couple years before Name of the Wind, I believe. It would be interesting to see what, if anything, was changed, how Rothfuss introduced the characters, and where exactly the story began and ended.

The reason I mention this is that without the weight of the story previously, I don't know how you don't automatically read Kvothe as almost completely amoral/sociopathic (and as evidenced by earlier discussion, that reading is plausible even with the rest of the story).

Then he wakes from a nightmare to find Ellie having a nightmare about what happened, and he says he tried to think of worse things he could have done to them and never felt guilty again. “Sometimes I think of Alleg and smile.”

I've never really been sure how to read this section. We see when he meets the healing woman in Levinshir that he is still conflicted over his actions, so this isn't actually closure (and he does feel guilty later, making that text demonstrably false).

I wonder if this is supposed to be a comparison with the Lethani somehow. He is initially sickened by his wrong action even though it may have resulted in a right outcome (I like that distinction and it doesn't surprise me at all that it comes from Bujold). But then he decides that the outcome is worth it, the ends justified the means and he is back to wearing his Amyr t-shirt seemingly unchanged by Vashet's attempts to hammer the Lethani into his head.
arcticcivvie
6. arcticcivvie
That last comment posted as I was typing. Maybe that's it... but I still seem to remember that the only opportunity for poisoning was before all of that talk.
Katy Maziarz
7. ArtfulMagpie
Nope, arcticcivvie. The very first comment I paraphrased, about nicking the ale in Levinshir, was pre-stew poisoning. Kvothe is then asked to play "Leave the Town Tinker," which he does, and Alleg afterward asks if he will join them on the road. It isn't until after that conversation that Kvothe first excuses himself for a call of nature and then walks over and tastes the stew, presumably poisoning it at that point as well.
George Brell
8. gbrell
@4.arcticcivvie:

Things that may have tipped him off:

-Alleg's harsh demeanor when he first appears:

“Save it,” he said coldly. “You have one breath left to tell me why you were sneaking around our camp.”

-Small instances of shiftiness

He shook my hand and turned toward the fire, shouting, “Best behavior everyone. We have a guest tonight!”

“I’ll be damned if he came past me, Alleg. He’s probably from ...”
“He’s from our family,” Alleg interjected smoothly.
“Oh,” Otto said, obviously taken aback.

-The admitted thieving

We were lucky enough to nick it on our way through Levinshir a couple days ago.

But you are correct that the most damning things don't appear till after he poisons the food and ale: the "Piper Wit" interlude, the appearance of the girls, more admissions of theft.

This is an instance where Kvothe seems to make a hasty action that is only truly justified ex post facto. It's dangerous because his actions are, at least to himself, excused. I think the story might have actually been more interesting (and much darker) if they were Ruh. I'm not sure how Kvothe would've handled that, however.
Katy Maziarz
9. ArtfulMagpie
But remember, the poison wasn't fatal! He was punishing the Ruh for being theives, but it wasn't until he met the girls and saw what was really going on that anything fatal happened....
arcticcivvie
10. arcticcivvie
Thank you both, I think that mostly clears it up for me. I remember thinking that he had could have (a little rashly) poisoned them after becoming suspicious for stealing the beer, and then decided to execute them when he met the girls. But after such a strong setup about the 'wine and water' signs, I wondered if we were supposed to pick up another, more hidden signal.
thistle pong
11. thistlepong
It certainly seems like the admission of theft prompts the poisoning. ArtfulMagpie notes it wasn't fatal, but these comments come before he knows about the girls...
He gave a hesitant nod. “I suppose it does. And how long would you travel with us?”
“Until no one objects to my leaving.”
and
“I swear on my mother’s milk, none of you will ever make a better deal than the one you made with me tonight.”
I think he was planning on killing them from the moment they admitted stealing from Levinshir; and the girls make it easier on us. That may well be Ruh law: the harshest penalty for the smallest infraction. It's still cold and harsh.

Does anyone else find it odd that we haven't seen a single Ruh other than Kvothe for hundreds of chapters?
Steven Halter
12. stevenhalter
Kvothe was pretty much sure that they weren't Ruh when he poisoned the stew. At that point he couldn't have known just how they obtained the Ruh wagons. Exactly what he meant to do at this point we don't know.
Then, they parade the girls, Kvothe takes them to the tent and then a few hours later kills everyone (well, leaves Alleg to die).
The one really questionable killing would seem to be Anne. She had a broken leg and so could have presumably been subdued, tied up and brought to authorities.
Steven Halter
13. stevenhalter
thistlepong@11:I've often thought it to be very odd that we never see any Ruh.
arcticcivvie
14. Zizoz
What's up with the names the Adem give for the Chandrian? They seem to be «true» names in some sense, but they can't be Names like the name of the wind, because if that kind of Name could be communicated so easily then Elodin's class would have been very different.
arcticcivvie
15. Jokes
I find it really interesting that you all are focusing so heavily on the morality of the situation, as that was one thing that didnt even nag at me as I read the section. The way I read it started with the obvious fact that they were Ruh since Kvothe has yelled at a solid 100 different people about how real Ruh don't steal, or aren't bad, etc. He poisons them but it wasn't a fatal poisoning, so just a relatively small punishment for thievery. Then he finds out about the sex slaves and decides he will go all out and kill them because they aren't just Ruh who have decided to steal, they are imposters and have sex slaves. Jo, and some others, are saying that they were morally bothered by his decision to take the law into his own hands and kill all the people. Putting the theory of the amyr completely aside, this is a day and age when punishments from major cities (courts of law) were mainly death. It was only 100 years after people were burned for witchcraft! You have to consider the options at hand for Kvothe. Going off to some city and reporting what the group of Ruh had done would not only not solve a single thing (there's no way they would be able to find that one group of Ruh and be sure), but also assuming they were found, the real authorities would simply kill them anyway. On two somewhat lesser points in the same line, if he didnt take the actions he did, the girls would have been continually raped either until they died, or the group was caught, and even worse, this would increase the stigma against the Ruh even more. Later in the book he hears the stories based on this story and says its changed alot. Two princesses from ogres, from bandits, etc. but never once was it even hinted that it was Ruh who stole the girls. I would say that ultimately his action wasn't even morally bad because it was the necessary action for the time period, you have to remember that "morals" and "ethics" change with technology and society. Options that we have today in a situation like that were not available in a time like this. On to a more book related theory, there has been a lot of set up for the third book and possibilities. We have heard about the old human (fake) amyr who used the motto for the greater good, and did terrible things for the right end. Then we've heard all these stories of Kvothe doing terrible things for the greater good (mutilating the body and using malfeasance(sp) to fight the bandits) it could be a setup for understanding the Amyr? Maybe he becomes an amyr? Maybe since the CTH and Felurian hint that Iax and the Amyr are behind the doors of stone, when he opens them it has some kind of significance to joining the order? Maybe theres a relation between his lockless heritage and the amyr? Whatever the reality, it could just be another set up for comparing him to the amyr, or understanding how the Amyr are viewed the way they are.
arcticcivvie
16. Frank Olynyk
Jo,
Where is Part 23? I didn't see anything posted last week, and the posts go from Part 22 to 24.

Frank.
George Brell
17. gbrell
@16.Frank Olynyk:

Here's a link to Part 23:
www.tor.com/blogs/2012/03/rothfuss-reread-the-wise-mans-fear-part-23-a-real-person

You can also click the "previous" button at the bottom of Jo's post.

Posts go up every Thursday, so you can also just click back through the main page.
arcticcivvie
18. arcticcivvie
Thanks, thistlepong, for picking out those quotes. Again, I don't have the book with me, so I appreciate everyone else looking this stuff up.

I still say that there's something else hidden in this chapter about the Ruh. I will admit that there was some possibly sketchy stuff said before Kvothe had a chance to poison the stew and ale, but a careful examination of the timing of everything makes it pretty clear that Kvothe was planning on killing the troupe way before most of the really bad stuff came out. I don't think this is a 'morality' issue, I really do suspect that he knew something was up. He explained to his friends the wine/water signal, and I think that was a clue to us that there was something else there. Something that, maybe, we haven't been told yet.
Steven Halter
19. stevenhalter
thistlepong@11:A corollary to the thought of "where are the Ruh" is why it seems to have never entered Kvothe's mind to go find any. Before he figures out that these aren't Ruh, he seems quite happy to have come across some.
It would seem like a town like Imre would attract a traveling troupe of Ruh or that Kvothe would have found some.
arcticcivvie
20. grapnel33
We have seen troupers before but no Edema Ruh. I'm starting to wonder is being truly Edema Ruh is like being a True Scotsman.
arcticcivvie
22. Herelle
The way Jo pointed out that at first the reader doesn't get any explanation for Kvothes behavior made me realize that there is a parallel to Kvothe telling the Maer. It always bothered me that Kvothe really botched his justification or better the whole situation with Meluan. Kvothe has a reputation for his golden tongue but in this case his opening was the worst possible and it is parallel to this retelling of the story. (Kvothe: "Is this one of the writs of patronage your grace has granted?" Maer: "Yes..."" How did you come to have their writ?" Kvothe: "...They were killed." Maer: "Have you any idea who killed them? Kvothe "I did." then he elaborates that they had kidnapped the girls and so on and only in the end he reveals that they were bandits. He could have just told the maer that he met a group of bandits on the road back who themselves had killed the troupe, taken their place and kidnapped the girls. There would have been no misunderstanding with Meluan. Even when they ask him how he would know (and his pride would not have been wounded because Meluan would not have been on the wrong track) he could have told them that one of the bandits told him so.
I don't really see why this would be significant but it feels odd that Kvothe retells this event both times, to the Maer and to the Chronicler, in a way that makes him look even more guilty than he is.
Alice Arneson
23. Wetlandernw
IMO, Kvothe planned to kill the group once he learned about the thieving. There were a lot of clues that they weren't really Ruh - or at least were very atypical - before the comment about the stolen ale, but that one was enough. He explains later, I think to Krin, that the Ruh have their own laws and punishments; any Ruh who jeopardize the safety or honor of the Ruh at large are to be killed and branded with the broken circle to show that they were not "true Ruh." As we've seen many times, Kvothe is pretty hard over on "the Ruh do not steal" and this would be a red flag. The law also applies to anyone who poses as Ruh, like this bunch did.

The Maer might complain about Kvothe taking the law into his own hands, but Kvothe wasn't interested in the law of the land. He cared about the law of the Ruh, and since he was the only one there to enforce the law, he did it. It was his responsibility as Edema Ruh. In that light, everyone in the group was complicit in breaking Ruh law and therefore must be killed and branded. Also in that light, what would be the point of taking the wounded to where some other law might deal with them? For Kvothe, Ruh law superseded the local law.
arcticcivvie
24. ryan7273
When K runs into one of Lorren's gillers in the library back in book 1, the man recognizes him as Ruh and acts as though he's part of the family. He also comments on how strange it is to meet another of the family so far from where they usually are. No real explanation of why the Ruh are rare in that part of the world, though.
I shook it without thinking. His hand was solid as a rock, and his dark Cealdish complexion was tanned even darker than usual, highlighting a few pale scars that ran over his knuckles and up his arms. “One family,” I echoed, too surprised to say anything else.
“Folk from the family are a rare thing here,” he said easily, walking past me toward the outer door. “I’d stop and share news, but I’ve got to make it to Evesdown before sunset or I’ll miss my ship.” He opened the outer door and sunlight flooded the room. “I’ll catch you up when I’m back in these parts,” he said, and with a wave, he was gone.
I turned to Wilem. “Who was that?”
“One of Lorren’s gillers,” Wil said. “Viari.”
Something else from this passage which I always find amusing is how Rothfuss keeps casually slipping in a reference to Firefly with "Evesdown docks".
arcticcivvie
25. kittenmay
I have a certain pet theory that I'd like to run by all of you. Lets cut right to it.

What if D isn't Denna?
Now, I mean. What if the D that we have seen so much interaction with is not the Denna from the wagons and trip to the University?
Several proofs:
1) Kvothe says himself that he knew he would never meet Denna again. Knew, not thought.
2) She is introduced as though she had never been seen in the story. She was shown as a main player the second time around, and not a hint about anything of import for the first.
3) She constantly changes her name. Why would she change her name? We all know that in the Kingkiller Chronicles, names are extremely important. Maybe she cannot keep to one name, because they are stolen, and not truely hers.
4) There is a major discrepency between the first Denna we meet, and D.
5) D is clearly charming Kvothe with at least one type of "magic" (Yllish knots). Why would a random, chance met girl on a wagon trip have any knowledge of these sorts of arcane things? Most people don't speak Yllish, let alone know how to read and write storyknots.

I believe that D is an entirely different person than the Denna which Kvothe met originally. This could also explain the great betrayal that has been mentioned in passing. The betrayal is that D isn't the Denna that Kvothe thought she was. Instead she's some other person/being that has been manipulating, tricking and spelling Kvothe for their entire relationship.

Any thoughts?
arcticcivvie
26. Her elle
There obviously is something there but I can't see Kvothe feeling betrayed in this scenario. He wouldn't have known Denna well enough. But the setting him up sounds solid to me - Denna tells him her job is to keep an eye on him. That and some other hints made me think Denna is some kind of spy.
Jeremy Raiz
27. Jezdynamite
If D isn't Denna, how could Bast meet her in D3? Doesn't he claim to have met Denna once, i.e. the same grown woman that K has difficulty in describing?

wetlander@23
I like what you've written. I agree with you.

On a side note, can anyone tell me please how the names Cyphus and Scyphus are pronounced in the audio books?
thistle pong
28. thistlepong
Wetlandrew@23
IMO, Kvothe planned to kill the group once he learned about the thieving.
I agree. That's what I was trying to get across with the quotes. I wonder why he feels his own actions up to that point haven't violated any Ruh laws, though. It's also a bit idsconcerting to realize he had to learn about this before he was ten years old. It's certainly a story his parents or the troupe could have told him, I suppose. But to decide at the point he does to kill them all, he'd almost have to have witnessed an example.

ryan7273@24
I think that when Viari says, “Folk from the family are a rare thing here,” he's talking about the University.
thistle pong
29. thistlepong
JezDynamite@27

identically: (sigh-fuss) ~can't get the special characters to work

Hespe's accent is lightly cockney? Adem speech is Dutch accented. Neither affects the pronunciation significantly.
Steven Halter
30. stevenhalter
thistlepong@28:It does seem that Kvothe learned some very hard lessons about being Ruh and he was only with them until age twelve. It does seem like someone just saying. "OK now Kvothe if you ever come across some Ruh who have stolen you've got to kill them all. Kill the men, kill the women, kill the rabbits... Then brand the bodies." Seems kind of harsh--talk about your "iron law." Witnessing something does seem more likely to have imprinted on his young mind.
That is, of course, if any such lessons occured at all.
arcticcivvie
31. jezdynamite
Thanks Thistlepong.
Alice Arneson
32. Wetlandernw
thistlepong @28 & shalter @30 - It seems likely that in order to react this way, that law had to be pretty deeply ingrained. While it seems to us probable that he must have witnessed this, there are other possibilities. Knowing how deeply the Edema Ruh feel about their culture, their "one family," and how much of their knowledge is based on oral tradition, isn't it also quite likely that early training would include memorization of their laws - a Ruh catechism, if you will - which would be recited and drilled so that every Ruh child would know them in his sleep? The best way to be sure the children will uphold the values of their parents is to be sure they not only know what those values are, but also the rules and the reasons for the rules. We teach our children what we believe and why we believe it, so that they will understand and believe it themselves. In a primarily oral culture, that would hold even more true, I think. JMO.
James Hogan
33. Sonofthunder
Kvothe's actions here are disturbing. True, the fake Ruh are quite abhorrent themselves, but I also agree that Kvothe seemed to decide to murder them all before he knew a thing about the girls. This is always a section I read rather quickly.

kittenmay @25 - while it's an intriguing thought, I can't see the girl Kvothe first meets on the way to the University as being different from Denna. Er, D. You know what I mean! Anyways, I may be too trusting, but I can't imagine that Denna's been manipulating Kvothe this whole time, putting on a masquerade for him. She seems the most real when it's the two of them alone together and I can't imagine that all turning out to be an act! Although it would be quite a betrayal...

As to the line about "it's my job to keep my eye on you...", I took that as being the denner-induced honesty of a lovestruck girl. Maybe I'm too much of a romantic, but I don't think I can reconcile that as meaning she's actually a spy placed to watch Kvothe. Does she have a disturbing past with secrets? Yes, but I still think Denna's genuinely in love with Kvothe as well. I hope I'm not proved wrong!
arcticcivvie
34. Herelle
Those chapters were disturbing. It didn´t even sound logical. Why should the laws of Edemah Ruh apply to bandits that never were part of them? Kvothe already poisoned them, he didn´t really need to kill them all. He had wagons, horses, provisions - he could have arrested them, put them in the wagons and drive with them to the next official, like the mayor in Levinshir.
Jo Walton
35. bluejo
Even with his Adem-fu, killing them is a lot more possible than subduing them and they taking them along for days to justice. However I do think he could have taken Anne, with her broken leg, and possibly Alleg as well... but really at that point dead in the forest is the same as dead in Levinshir.

But it's interesting that Kvothe never even considers it even to dismiss it -- Amyr without the t-shirt again, not just "for the greater good" but feeling that he's the one who has to put the world to rights, right now, with what he has to hand. It's the same as the draccus -- if Kvothe had never been to Trebean that draccus would have been there, and it would have gone to the town that night when it saw the fires and things would actually have been a lot worse. It wasn't his fault and it wasn't his responsibility, but in his own mind since he was there it absolutely was.

Kittenmay: Interesting. And not implausible. I think there has to be something huge and weird and magical going on with D because otherwise it doesn't make sense.
Steven Halter
36. stevenhalter
Wetlandernw@32:An intensive indoctrination at an early age could very well produce ingrained responses. Kind of reduces his statements that "My will is my own."
It does, however, seem to fit in the pattern of his "Amyr actions."
arcticcivvie
37. iamarobot
After reading all the comments I'm not as confident in what I'm about to say but I think it's plausible that K initially poisoned the bandits to facilitate his escape from them later. He may have gotten a sense that something was off and they might not want him to leave the group and tell anyone he saw them. Once he saw the girls he changed his mind.
John Graham
38. JohnPoint
Epic post here:

@23 Wetlandernw: I agree with your thoughts, and that corresponds with my interpretation of the situation. Kvothe is holding to the laws of the Ruh. In his mind (and, arguably, in reality as a "deputy" of the Maer), Kvothe is allowed -- or even required -- to take justice into his own hands. He is Ruh, and is following their laws when he kills and brands the bandits; he is also a representative of the Maer, and was tasked with making the road safe. He's Ruh down to his bones -- he knows their laws, and needs to uphold their name, whether he had witnessed it personally (as a child) or had heard the oral history and laws of his people.

@34 Herelle: Ruh laws apply to the bandits the instant that they killed and impersonated the original troupe. By taking on the personna of the Ruh, they get the benefits (the Maer's writ, etc.), but they also are liable for a reckoning if their thievery/murder/kidnapping/rape comes to the attention of a real Ruh. As it did. Branding them with the broken circle is completely appropriate -- it signals that the brandee isn't truly Ruh, and in this case they actually aren't Ruh.

@28 Thistlepong: one potential reason that Kvothe doesn't see his own actions (stealing in Tarbean, etc) as breaking Ruh law might be because he wasn't representing himself as Ruh when they occured. He did go to Tarbean as part of a troupe, say something along the lines of, "I'm Edema Ruh, here to entertain you. My actions speak for my people..." and then steal from them. Instead, he was an orphan boy living on the streets, and stealing for survival. His actions didn't reflect on his people at all, and he wasn't representing the Ruh. It's an ambiguous distinction, but might be part of his thought on the matter.

@35 Jo: Arguably, Kvothe was responsible for the draccus attacking Trebon. It was on the hill to see the harvest festival because Kvothe lured it there. It was completely drug addled because he gave it so much denner trying to kill it. Granted, he lured it to the hill and gave it the denner because he had already decided to take action, so he's not completely "off the hook."

Side question: people have several times mentioned that the Ruh were recognized by their red hair, and persecuted because of it. I think that's a mistake -- the Yll have red hair, and Illien possibly did (when Stanch mentions that it would be nice to have someone else there with "Illien's fire" and puts his hand to his own red hair), but I didn't get the impression that the other Ruh have red hair. In fact, the other members of his troupe didn't (for example when his parents joke about who snuck into Laurian's bed to sire a red-headed son. I don't have the text with me, but it's when they're talking with Abenthy about Kvothe, the University, etc.)

Another question that comes to mind (note, this is mostly in jest...) Was Kvothe's troupe branded with the broken circle when they were killed? As Westlandernw states, "any Ruh who jeopardize the safety or honor of the Ruh at large are to be killed and branded with the broken circle." Perhaps Arlinden and the troupe were jeopardizing the safety and honor of the Ruh at large by researching/singing about/spreading tales of the Chandrian or the CW? Maybe their killing was justified according to Ruh law? (I don't really believe this to be the case, but it's an interesting speculation, particularly coupled with the fact that we're not absolutely certain who killed the troupe.)

Finally, I'm not too surprised that he hasn't met any Ruh since his troupe was killed (with the possible exception of Viari). Since then, he was in Tarbean, where he avoided music in particular and people in general, and then at the University/Imre. The Ruh are travelers, and live as groups. They rarely travel alone -- as the tinker outside Trebon indicated -- and are likely to travel in the country, where people appreciate them. It's perhaps surprising that a troupe never comes to Imre, but not too unlikely. I get the impression that, as a people, they're not that numerous, particularly after the purges.
thistle pong
39. thistlepong
iamarobot@37
I was gonna post something similar when I wrote @11 and then decided to read through the scene again. He's dramatically telling them he's going to kill them before he even suspects the girls. Well, young women - he notes Ellie is maybe a year younger than him.

Ellie and Krin are basically there to pull at our hearts, stoke our fury, and encourage sympathy with Kvothe's actions. They're disposable women that remind us there's one reprehensible behavior Kvothe will not engage in.

His reflections on Alleg are pretty much in line with how film and television shorthand moral decay from remorse at taking life to deriving pleasure from it. Most of the time these are disposable characters who are themselves about to be written out of the book by the hero. We get to see Kvothe get away with it and continue struggling, but his actions are increasingly fraught.
thistle pong
40. thistlepong
JohnPointe@38
people have several times mentioned that the Ruh were recognized by their red hair, and persecuted because of it. I think that's a mistake
The fella in Levinshir says you can tell Ruh by them eyes. Viari mistakes him for Yllish 'cause of tthe hair. (As an aside: Kvothe and Alleg, along with Terris in the story, say my/your/our family while Viari uses the family. I reckon he's no Ruh, but holds no prejudice toward them.)
Was Kvothe's troupe branded with the broken circle when they were killed?
Not that we see. I've been over that dozens of times. In fact, it's not until sometime in WMF that there's even a mention of blood on Cinder's sword. Before reading that Kvothe was a suspect.

It's also interesting to note that Edema Ruh as a distinct ethnic group might be difficult to pin down. Shandi was Modegan. Lots of folks believe Laurian was a Vintic noble. That'd make Kvothe at best a half breed despite being Edema Ruh down to the marrow of his bones.
George Brell
41. gbrell
@40.thistlepong:

What's the evidence for Shandi being Modegan? I don't remember any and I'm away from my book at the moment. I know that Kvothe mentions a Modegan courtesan traveling with the troupe, but I don't remember the text connecting her with Shandi.
Steven Halter
42. stevenhalter
thistlepong@39:I agree. This section is both disturbing in its content and seems somewhat awkward compared to other sections of the book.
Later, when Kvothe is telling the story to the Maer, he really doesn't tell it well either--for someone who is usually good at story telling.
The question is, is this a case of awkward story telling on the part of PR, or is there something going on that we haven't quite figured out yet.
For example, Tarbean felt somewhat odd also until we developed the "geas" theory and Skarpi's snapping him out of it.
Some things to consider:
Coincidences do happen (that's why we have the word) but it is a tad odd that Kvothe (after years of no sign of Ruh) just happens to find this set of wagons on his way home. Could this have been arranged (possibly by the CTH) as another way to force Kvothe into a set of actions? (Of course it could have, but I don't see direct evidence.)
Was Kvothe's immediate willingness to poison and kill a sign of a deeper instability within him or a sign of his being able to see the essential nature of the bandits without his conscious mind knowing it. If his sleeping mind saw the nature of the bandits (their name was murderer/rapist) then it would also make more sense. I kind of like this, but again don't see much evidence. Maybe Kvothe doesn't see it himself.
John Graham
43. JohnPoint
Thistlepong @40:
It's also interesting to note that Edema Ruh as a distinct ethnic group might be difficult to pin down.

Thanks, that's essentially my point -- the Ruh are a culture (and an ethnicity, sensu "sharing a culture, heritage, language"), but less of a distinct racial group. Yes, the Ruh probably started as a genetically distinct group, but by now they're really a culture -- once you're accepted by the Ruh and subscribe to their values etc., you are Ruh. So, even if Laurian was a Lackless, she became Ruh. Similarly, Kvothe was raised Ruh and is Ruh, regardless of his ancestral origins.

(Note: a while ago someone hypothesized that Kvothe might be part Fae -- and this could potentially be supported by Arlinden and Laurian jesting about speculating what creature seduced her the night Kvothe was conceived; it could even indicate that Arlinden himself is Fae. Anyway, even if Kvothe is half-Fae, he is still Ruh, by virtue of being raised and accepted by the Ruh.)

Gbrell @41 -- I believe Kvothe mentions it, either when he is originally describing the troupe, or perhaps when he mentions that Modegans don't wear used clothes, in reference to buying new dresses for Auri.
Alice Arneson
44. Wetlandernw
Herelle @34 - As he says pointblank in the text, they made themselves out to be Edema Ruh: therefore, the laws apply to them. They made the claim, they have to pay the price for it. (See also JohnPointe @38)

bluejo @35 - Except that if he really does consider Ruh law on equal footing (or higher) than the local law, he wouldn't be all that interested in taking them anywhere anyway.

shalter @36 - Absolutely it fits his "Amyr actions" motif; I just suspect that an early-childhood drill in the laws of the Ruh provided the basis for those actions in this case. Unless he made up the whole thing about the Ruh laws to console Krin and justify what he was doing in his own mind.

iamarobot @37 - That's entirely possible; he certainly used a poison that would merely incapacitate them rather than killing. Whatever he anticipated as his future actions, it would be to his advantage to have them in a state where they couldn't stop him.
arcticcivvie
45. DeadNedStark
I think Kvothe absolutely did the right thing in killing those vile people, and I like to think I would have done the same.
arcticcivvie
46. iamarobot
The branding of the bandits with the broken circle confused me a little. Since so many people believe the Ruh are bandits, branding Ruh lawbreakers with a broken circle may be a sign to other Ruh...or something else altogether.
thistle pong
47. thistlepong
JohnPointe@43
it could even indicate that Arlinden himself is Fae
This has come up before, but I don't remember any support. Iwas recently nudged toward an alternative.
“I think you are. I think you look kinda like one of them Ruh. You got them eyes.” The men around him craned to get a better look at my face.
That's from Seth in Levinshir. We know Kvothe has mood ring eyes and folks have pointed out Bast and Felurian do as well. I think that's the source of the Fae/Ruh theory.

But Kvothe doesn't get his eyes from Arliden. Here's Denna and Kvothe:
“But your eyes really do change color. Normally they’re bright green with a ring of gold around the inside….”
“I got them from my mother,”
So Laurian, rather than Arliden, probably also had mood ring eyes and thus maybe Faen blood.

shalter@42
I honestly don't know what motivates Kvothe's behavior. I keep thinking back to Ben asking him what happens when you give a thoughtless twenty year old a sword. How much damage could he do? How about if he's a namer? I really think that's the only nidge the Cthaeh would have to make, whether or not it's arranged/controlled or just seen and suggested.

Get him a sword and watch him go. I think I've mentioned it before, but the Cthaeh's sight reminds me most of Augustine's notion of how an omnipotent god sees time: it knows what you will do but it's still you making the choices. In the case of the Cthaeh it can wiggle the future a bit iff you come by for a chat, but it's intervention doesn't have to be inconceivably complex.

I don't think he's ever considered he might not be responsible for his actions. Are you saying that maybe we should?
Steven Halter
48. stevenhalter
thistlepong@47:That's a good callback to Ben's statement. Kvothe now has a sword and magic and he is less than 20.
I think you are quite right that it has never entered Kvothe's mind that his actions are maybe not so much his own. In a purely legal sense he is, of course, completely responsible for his own actions--be they good or bad.
If we set aside absolute determinism for a bit (too big a discussion) and concentrate on the story itself there are three ways (that I can think of) in which Kvothe has clearly been coerced:
1) The CTH has given Kvothe a push. How much actual effect this will have (or has already had) remains to be seen.
2) Haliax and Skarpi seem to have both performed some sort of Naming magic upon Kvothe.
3)The plum bob basically removed* his ability to oversee his actions.
It also seems likely that he is and will be manipulated by others like the shadow Amyr.
However, in the scope of the story he seems to be the owner of the choices he is making. We keep getting shown that he makes quick decisions. In the case of the fake Ruh, his quick choice worked out. I am guessing that in D3 he is going to make some quick choices that will not work out well at all.
*--clarified as to being (mostly) over except for possible flashbacks
Julia Mason
49. DrFood
shalter @48, are you suggesting the Kvothe is still under the influence of the plumbob? Or should that have been "removed" instead of "removes?"

Anyway, I'm sorry I missed the conversation last week about the man mothers. I maintain that since low bodyfat halts the (human) menstrual cycle (when I have anorexic teens as patients, I tell them my goal for them is whatever weight it takes to get their hormones back in order) it is not that bizarre for the Adem to be unclear on the connection between sex and reproduction.

Someone already mentioned the Trobrianders, but if you're curious, google "trobriand culture shock" and read the first link. It is a traveller's essay about this group of islands in the Western Pacific where the yams making up the bulk of their diet provide so much phytoestrogen that pregnancy is relatively rare. The result is a matrilineal society with frequent and casual coupling, where having a meal together doesn't happen until you are married, but having sex is no big deal.

So no, the Adem are not stupid, and they are certainly not dirt poor. It is, however, unlikely that either Vashet or Penthe will be bearing red-headed children, fun as that would be. For one, they are both described as lean and hard, with "six-pack" abs.

As an aside, the genetics of red hair are interesting. The red coloration arises from a mutation that is recessive. Thus, you won't see any red color unless you've received a "red hair" gene from both parents. If two red-headed people form a family, every single child will be red-headed, but not necessarily all exactly the same color. That is because the red color acts on top of whatever other hair color genes are present. Most frequently these are pale, leading to light or bright red hair, but if the child has both brown hair and red hair genes you get that gorgeous "irish setter" chestnut that is seen far more commonly in books (or from bottles) than in real life.

Sorry if that's more than you wanted about red hair, but I'm a ginger myself and I find it fascinating. Both my parents were brown-haired and brown-eyed, as were both my sisters (although one sister has somewhat reddish brown hair). As populations mix, red hair will become less frequently seen, but the genes won't go away, they'll just be hidden most of the time. Getting back to the Adem, they are studiously described as a pale-skinned, pale-haired and pale-eyed bunch. What would cause a stir is a dark-haired (or dark-eyed, or dark-skinned) man joining them and fathering children. Kvothe is described as fiery haired, green-eyed and pale (except the one annoying time he says he was well-tanned from his sea voyage, which I doubt), so he is a bundle of recessive genes himself. Well, except possibly the green eye color might express "over" the light gray eye color of the Adem. . . eye color is apparently very complicated, such that it is possible for two blue eyed parents to have blue, green and even brown eyed children. . . I'd better stop now!
arcticcivvie
50. Trollfot
Why is this section in the book at all? Is it to show us Kvothe's morals? Or is it a part of his journey to corruption? (First killing bandits on the Maer's orders, then killing tiefs and rapists on his own authority, next something else and at last Kingkiller.) Or will something/someone from this detour come back later? What do you think?
Alice Arneson
51. Wetlandernw
Trollfot @50 - This episode does serve as a springboard for his odd estrangement/patronage relationship with the Maer. Because of this, Meluan first gives him kudos; when he clarifies, she turns against him, and more so because she felt like he had fooled her. The Maer has to take her side but also has to acknowledge Kvothe's service, so Kvothe ends up with "free money" and a very strained relationship with someone who seems to be critical to D3.

I'm sure there would have been other ways to set that up, but this works and also, IMO, gives us a scarier view of Kvothe.
John Haley
52. Ghrakmaxus
Two things:
1. Lorren's skriv Kvothe meets in the university library initially thinks that Kvothe is Yllish as he speaks to him in Yllish and excuses himself when Kvothe says he is Ruh. This could mean that many Ylls have red hair or various other characteristics that match Kvothes. Neither of Kvothe's parents is described as having red hair. So, one could assume that it is rare even among the Ruh. Hence the previous speculation on these threads about him not actually being the offspring of Arliden and wife. (Stage whisper question: Was it mentioned/speculated in previous threads why Lorren knew of "Arliden the bard" in previous posts and why the heck Kvothe has not asked Lorren how he knows Arliden's name....)...back to the matter at hand....
2. When Kvothe questions the bleeding and recently branded Alleg, Alleg says of the Ruh troop whose place they have taken that "someone killed the Ruh troop he was hired to guard and he pretended to be knocked out to survive." (Chandrian anyone?? Maybe they were looking for the Rue Troopers that were saying/singing their name???) Alleg does not say that he and others killed the Ruh, just that they took their place because of the "easy life". PR makes us leap to that conclusion because of our focus on Kvothe's emotions and the killing of the false troopers. Thus his morals/Lethani following would be even further in question, for killing those that pretended to be Ruh, but not that had killed the original Ruh troop?
Alice Arneson
53. Wetlandernw
Ghrakmaxus @52 - Alleg makes it pretty clear that the rest of this bunch were the ones who killed the original Ruh, who consisted of "an old man and his wife and a couple other players." He had traveled as a guard with them and they eventually made him part of them.
"...were attacked on the road." He gestured weakly to the other bodies. "They surprised us. The other players were killed, but I was just... knocked out. ... I showed them afterward...how to act like a troupe."
Incidentally, about showing mercy to Anne? She was the one who drugged the girls in the first place. But IIRC, that will come up again later.
Rob Munnelly
54. RobMRobM
Re whether K should have incacitated the fake troup and somehow either brought them to the authorities or brought the authorities to them (both highly questionable propositions, given the number of fake Ruhs there and the need either to keep drugging them or otherwise subduing so many of them for the time it took for justice to arrive), K must have a separate concern ... that the authorities would unjustly prosecute/persecute him.

Ruh are not held in high regard and are persecuted by many authorities across the 4C. Given his apparent authority from the Maer, K has a better chance than most Ruh of being believed, but it is not a sure thing. Also, unless he drags all of the fake Ruh to the girls' town - a questionably safe proposition at best - he'd have to retain the girls as witnesses to support his side of the facts, and delay getting them back to their families. Hence, for a whole bunch of reasons, K made a reasonable choice killing the killers/rapers by himself.

Funny, but I did not see this as a big MEH event for K. The fake troup did things that merited execution (killing the other troup, kidnapping and raping the girls), so I saw it as doing what must be done to save the girls and prevent the troup from harming others (as well as the reputation of the Ruh). He didn't have good options and he was confident he had the skill set to take care of the job. I just felt bad for K that he had to so the dirty job himself. Or, to put it another way, what he did was not wrong but it was personally painful, and I felt bad for him.

Rob

p.s. But, then again, I didn't have a problem with the decisiomaking at Natrin's Barrow in the WoT re-read either....
Julia Mason
55. DrFood
I agree that Kvothe was planning to kill the false troupers before he knew about the girls. I think he quickly decided they were false and just as quickly decided the only way they could have obtained Ruh wagons etc. was by killing the rightful owners. So, in his mind he was avenging the killing of whomever actually owned those wagons. Note that he removes the Ruh markings before leaving the wagons behind and he takes the writ with him.

If you are a nomadic people earning your living from the people of small villages and towns (that can't support the presence of a year-round performing space) your reputation is possibly your most important possession.
arcticcivvie
56. master
to me this proves a theory that I've seen in an earlier comment here. that kvothe has a greater good mentality. he doesnt care about the law or morals if there is a higher goal.

even if he did think about killing the bandits before seeing the girls, he obviously thought it would support the greater good to kill them.

possible reasons is that it could increase persecution towards ruh if there was a real troupe of them doing what the stories say they do.

another reason is as punishment for a crime. even if it is just stealing. though it is hypocritical seeing as kvothe is also a thief when he needs to be.

the last is probably his disgust. after his reactions to everyone who insults or he thinks insults] the edema, can you imagine his disgust at seeing a troupe actually doing that stuff.
arcticcivvie
57. Wallace
Kvothe says that he killed the group because he suspected they had killed a Ruh troop and taken their wagons. Once he sees the girls, he no longer has any reason to wait to interrogate them to find them guilty of a hanging offense. Note that he appears to have given the group an incapacitating, but not deadly, poison.
arcticcivvie
58. jmb928
I didn't read the complete thread so forgive me if this is redundant:

I think the really important aspect of this section is that immediately after Kvothe leaves the Amyr he goes out and participates in an act so blatantly not of the Lethani. The morality of the justice given to the false troupe is inconsequential. I can't claim to be an expert on the Lethani but I do think Rothfuss does a better job of setting up the reader to understand it better than Kvothe does. With that in mind, I don't think there's anything more un-Lethani then to drug a group of people and then butcher them with a sword. It seems really significant to me that Kvothe's first act with Caesura is to slaughter helpless people (yes, I know they were evil in their own right but they were still slaughtered and they were still helpless once drugged).

For me, this act was startling, shocking, not because of the fact of the deaths but because of the brutal nature with which they were carried. It points to the “dark thing” the Amyr feared was inside Kvothe. Also the parallel to Kvothe's troop being slaughtered... this is a disturbing section. And as much as I enjoy Kvothe's story, his charm, his wit, his self-destructive arrogance, this section sheds him in a whole new light. His flaws are no longer charming. They're terrifying.
I feel really sure that Rothfuss deliberately placed this section immediately after the Amyr section to show the extreme extent to which Kvothe just doesn't get it. He was given a gift of this incredible teaching of a life path and the first thing he does with it is completely antithetical to the teaching. Kvothe gathers knowledge and then uses that knowledge to destroy. Sometimes he doesn't mean to. Sometimes he does so very deliberately. It is a chilling foreshadow of the destruction that's to come in D3.
John Graham
59. JohnPoint
OK, this probably isn't the best time/place to propose this, but it came to me this morning, and I can't quite get it out of my mind...

Over on the imaginary linguistics thread, Jezdynamite proposed that Tehlu could translate as "moon lock" or something like that (from "teh," the rune for lock, and "lu" refering to "Ludis," the moon.) If that's a legitimate translation (and reflected in the first day of the week, Luten, paralleling our moon-day of Monday...), then that implies to me that Tehlu might actually be Iax/Jax. Tehlu, "Moon-Lock" is the one who stole and locked the moon's name away...

It has been proposed and fairly well established that Iax is the "enemy," however the definition of "enemy" definitely depends on which side of the war you support. IIRC, we don't ever see Tehlu and Iax together. In Skarpi's story, Selitos indicates that there were only three others who could match his skill in naming: Aleph, Iax, and Lyra. No Tehlu. But, if the side that we think are the Namers are actually the Shapers (as possible from the fact that we mostly see them shaping etc), then Tehlu and Iax could be one and the same. Note that the only eye-witness we have to the creation war (Felurian) refuses to give the name of the one who stole the moon. This would also tie in nicely with the Selitos/Cthaeh theory that Thistlepong came up with a few weeks ago.

I know that this doesn't really correspond with the statement about the enemy being shut behind the doors of stone, but it could likely be worked out one way or another...
arcticcivvie
60. Wallace
@58

I don't think we can easily separate whether Kvothe's actions were of the Lethani from the questions of their intrinsic morality. To the extent that the Lethani made any sense, it seems to be "doing the right thing" distilled to its name-like essence. A person who knows the Lethani understands right action the way a namer understands the wind. What actions are correct ones might not depend only on questions of morality, but it seems like it should at least include them.

Certainly the Adem don't have any problem with an unfair fight. Some of them roll their eyes at Kvothe when he throws his sword away in the fight with Carceret. They don't have any inherent objections to using talents beyond fighting either; Shehyn encourages Kvothe to use "all things" in his fight agaisnt the rhinta.

Anyway I don't think we should put too much weight in what the Adem think. They are just one perspective in a story with many different ones. Some parts of the depiction of Ademic society are so positive that it seems like PR is putting them on a pedestal. But other parts serve to remind us that they aren't all-knowing and perfectly good (man-mothers, their comfort with maiming Kvothe if he is unable to learn to fight well, Vashet's willingness to beat and threaten to kill Kvothe for philosophical disagreements).

Moreover, some of what the Adem do and say is just nonsense, like Vashet's violent tantrum after Kvothe says he is studying with the Adem to learn how to fight. Why else would he be at the school? Why else would any of them be there? Sure fighting is a means, not an end, but it's a valuable means that all of them are pursuing. If the Adem are supposed to be "right" about this, I think the readers can comfortably disagree with PR.
thistle pong
61. thistlepong
JohnPointe@59
In the spirit of your post, Skarpi says the enemy was "set beyond" the doors of stone while Felurian says "shut behind." Whomever the enemy was, ze appears to be locked out of Faen. I always thought the difference was a bit odd. You imprison something when you shut it behind. You guard something when you're st beyond it.

April fools?
thistle pong
62. thistlepong
double your output by double clicking the post button :(
George Brell
63. gbrell
@59.JohnPoint:

Another possible translation would be "first lock." This assumes that "lu" in Luten refers to the number one just as Caenin/Chaen refers to the number seven.

That would lead to the opposite assumption, that Tehlu was perhaps the one who sealed Iax.

Have we ever gotten a satisfactory explanation for why we get two names for the seventh day? Only one is in the text (Caenin in Trapis' story), but the German appendix that provides much of our date-related knowledge calls it Chaen.
Katy Maziarz
64. ArtfulMagpie
Moreover, some of what the Adem do and say is just nonsense, like Vashet's violent tantrum after Kvothe says he is studying with the Adem to learn how to fight. Why else would he be at the school? Why else would any of them be there? Sure fighting is a means, not an end, but it's a valuable means that all of them are pursuing. If the Adem are supposed to be "right" about this, I think the readers can comfortably disagree with PR.

I'm going to have to disagree with you, not PR, here. The Adem are learning to fight, yes. As a means, not an end, yes. However, here is where my reading differs from yours.... The Adem are learning a physical skill that is closely tied into their philosophy of life. By the perfection of that physical skill, their bodies and minds are brought into harmony with each other and with the world. The Lethani. It just so happens that by using this skill, which is so much more developed among them than among the barbarians, they can support their villages. So they go out into the world and they use this skill, not out of desire to hurt or kill people but because it is a skill they have and because there is benefit to using it. So. They are not learning to fight so that they know how to fight. They are not learning to fight so that they know how to hurt people. But THAT is why Kvothe is learning to fight--so he can hurt people. He says so!

Vashet says to him: "That is why I do not let you fight anyone but me. You are too wild. You could hurt someone."
smiled. "I thought that was the point of this."
Vashet then proceeds to put Kvothe into an unbreakable hold called Sleeping Bear and twist his arm until it is about to pop out of the shoulder socket.
Vashet tells him that the purpose of Sleeping Bear is control, and that now she can do whatever she wants with him, move him or break him or free him. Then she asks: "What is the purpose of Sleeping Bear?"
Kvothe responds. "Control."
Vashet lets him up and says: "The purpose of all of this is control. First you must have control of yourself. Then you can gain control of your surroundings. Then you gain control of whoever stands against you. This is the Lethani." (Emphasis mine.)

So, no. The Adem are not learning to fight in the way you mean it. They are learning control. They are learning a skill that they can market, though they are not learning it because they can market it, if you see the difference. They are not learning to hurt people solely to have the ability to hurt them. That is what Kvothe seems to think he's learning, though...or seems to want to learn. And that is why Vashet is angry...because that seeming desire to hurt people is a very dark thing, and is very much not the Lethani.
arcticcivvie
65. realmC
About K telling the story to the mayor: His rather awckward reveal of his actions seem to me like he isn´t (despite himself saying different) totally okay with what he did. note that he recounts the events to the mayor almost like he experienced them - found the troup, realized they were bandits, found out they killed the ruh - instead of leading with the important part - them having killed the troupe carrying the writ. It seems to me like he is looking for approval.
arcticcivvie
66. opsomath
I thank the posters who pointed out the significance of Chronicler's journey. The way PR elides over the way Chronicler claims to be poor in name-lore, and then went on a journey that "opened his eyes..." well, it could easily describe a man who went looking for power in places where he should not, like Lanre was said to have done.

Furthermore, this chapter was the one which nailed down for me that Kvothe was Not Our Hero. I bought the original Writers of the Future book before WMF came out, and read this in short story form. I did not note any differences between it and the novel version. But I couldn't help but notice the line about a new Chandrian, a terror in the night, whose hair is as red as as the blood he spills...and the fact that the only thing we know of evil that the Chandrian has done is the total destruction of a traveling troupe.

Who else do we know who has totally wiped out a traveling troupe, men and women, as the surviving members begged for mercy? Our man K.

At this point, I am certain that K. has been utterly altered by something he has done. My thought is that he fought Cinder, and killed or beat him, and was cursed by him in the same manner that Selitos cursed Lanre. His sign is that he cannot bear music, or make it, just as the other Chandrian lost things they loved (as some have speculated). I think this manifests in his hand being crippled.

But there are many other possibilities.
Steven Halter
67. stevenhalter
I think it's been mentioned before, but what if K really is the ultimate villain of the piece? Rothfuss could be doing a complete reversal where we see Kvothe as a fairly likeable fellow with bits of unlikeability. Since K is telling the story, his actions seem reasonable all along the way to himself. No body thinks they are the villain until it is way too late to do anything but regret.
This gives a possibility for a novel form of eucatastrophe. K does not avoid casatrophe (it has already happened to him)--the real protagonist (one of the other characters D or Sim or Wil or someone) triumphs at the end. This gives us something like eucatastrophe by proxy.
Camilo Caceres
68. DoomDuck
@opsomath for 66 - ooooh. That does lend some credence to that bit of story. Combined with @67 I find that all very interesting.

One thing I don't see mentioned a lot re: the poisoning. The poison was definitely only incapacitating, not deadly, so it wasnt as though he'd already decided to murder everyone. But you also have to consider that as a lone traveler, if a group of people talks about stealing and is clearly lying to you and shady... Odds are you're going to get murdered and robbed, and soon.

Kvothe would clearly have realized they were lying from the outset and trying to lull him into a false sense of security (heeeey, you're one of us!) which to his mind meant he was probably in great danger. Poisoning the food would have given him a chance to escape at night. To top it off, he also suspected that they had murdered a Ruh troupe and stolen their wagons. In my mind, poisoning their food with a debilitating poison was one of his very few options to escape the situation and find out the truth regarding the Ruh murders *without* killing a bunch of people.

That he later found out they were also rapists, to me, is what finally pushed him to kill them all in cold blood. I can't say I would condone the action in this day and age, but given the time period (where whippings at school are a-ok). I certainly don't think it was over the top or particularly evil in any way.

Edit: Also, looking back at some of Bens teachings, I find it interesting that he intended to use the story of Lanre as a way to give Kvothe "perspective" on power, cleverness, and carelessness. Was Lanre also a "20 year old with a sword?"

~DD
arcticcivvie
69. Ziggelly
I don't think Kvothe's a villain. I believe that he killed people who darn will needed killing, saved people who darn well needed saving, and generally did the good right thing. As many people have pointed out already, he couldn't have incapacitated all of the people, or leave the girls alone to fetch the authories/help.
... But I suppose that isn't the point, because he could conceivably have done that, or snuck the girls out of camp by way of his wit/charm/sneakiness/magic cloak/whatever; there's a version of the story that is exactly this, Kvothe later notes, and it's his favourite. He didn't want to get help. These were murders, thieves, and rapists, who were pretending to be his people. They were basically spitting on his ethnicity and culture - and, in a convoluted way, the memories of his childhood and of his murdered family - and adding to the bad Ruh reputation, making it far more likely for other Edema Ruh to get beaten or even murdered for crimes that they didn't commit. He wanted to take care of them himself. Is this petty of him? Perhaps. Did he go over the top? Yeah, a bit. Did he beat himself up about it afterwards? Certainly. Would those trouper guys/gal have beaten themselves up over raping/murdering those girls? Doubtful. All-in-all, I believe that he wasn't the bad guy of the situation. Anti-hero, maybe, but not a villain.
Plus, I think it's one more example of heroes not living up to their expectations. It's all well and good to say that you defeated the bad guys and rescued the princesses -- (Aaron actually lists this earlier as one of Kvothe's "good guy" actions, as opposed to being expelled from the University, which was "bad") -- but it's not as pretty and heroic when you stop to think about what that actually means.
thistle pong
70. thistlepong
I think it's probably important to note that a careful reading of the chapter definitely supports the fact that he decided to kill the troupe before discovering even that they were kidnappers. Their crime at that point was theft and possibly impersonation. Anyone really concerned with the morality or lack thereof of Kvothe's actions needs to start there rather than skipping to the end.
Gavin Morrison
71. Kvodin
With my own personal moral beliefs I think what he did is of the Lathani. If he deems it neccessary to do it in a gruesome way to satisfy old traditions, so be it.

If he did in fact intend on killing them all before seeing the girls, which I do not believe, then this would be another issue.

I believe he planned on interrogating them holding the antitode or whatever hostage and decide what to do with them then.

I think he was just in his actions. Child molesters deserve nothing more then death.
Alice Arneson
72. Wetlandernw
thistlepong @70 - While theft and impersonation were the obvious part, their real crime (as far as Kvothe was concerned) was bringing dishonor on the Ruh. They were clearly NOT Ruh, i.e. not living by the Ruh laws, and yet were using wagons with all the Ruh markings, carrying a writ granted to Ruh, and using that writ to make their way easier. They were doing things often falsely attributed to the Ruh, jeopardizing the honor and safety of the Ruh. For that alone, according to Ruh law, they were to be killed and branded.

I'm sure the discovery that they had kidnapped and raped Krin and Ellie made it easier for him to go forward with the executions; the later discovery that they had actually killed an entire Ruh troupe justified it even further. I think the upcoming chapters make it fairly clear that he didn't take any pleasure in it, and in fact felt pretty horrible about it, but he still believed it was what had had to be done.
John Graham
73. JohnPoint
thistlepong @61 -- guilty as charged. My comment @59 was primarily in the spirit of April Fools, though to be honest, it wouldn't entirely surprise me if it turns out to be correct. Since we mostly have a story about stories and have very few facts that we can count on to be "true," Pat could follow a whole suite of possibilities and still be supported textually. I guess we'll know when D3 comes out!
arcticcivvie
74. KiztheWiz
1. Finally worked up the courage to post--after literally weeks of lurking--so I'll lead with a question. RobMRobM@54--sorry, but what is MEH? Not familiar with that shorthand. (Also, IIRC?)

2. Off of JohnPoint@59’s linguistics question (April Fools or not, it opened the door and I’ve been dying to ask)—have the linguists here determined what the “Hal” prefix indicates? We have Iax/Jax, and then Lanre becomes “Haliax”. That’s been bothering me since Hespe first told the Jax story!

3. I’m not advocating Kvothe-style justice in our world, but I didn’t have much outrage at what he did. It was grim and gruesome, but like Wetlandernw and JohnPoint have argued, it fits in with the strict social justice that the Ruh really need to have.

It also fits in with the larger justice systems and attitudes we’ve seen in the 4C, which seem to favor retribution over rehabilitation. The Maer’s power certainly isn’t checked by habeus corpus, the Iron Law reads as both arbitrary and unforgiving, and we have been told in earlier (albeit less “civilized”) times Atur has undergone widespread human experimentation and human hunting for sport. Even the Adem are quite willing to maim to suit the needs of their society.

Social justice there is definitely pre-enlightenment or frontier-style by our standards, but even the people he encounters don’t seem to have a problem with it. Granny (?) in Levenshir is openly supportive of his actions.

Honestly, I’m more worried by the absolute sense of his own righteousness Kvothe displays. He has a few “moments of weakness” where he’s angsty about the mutilation of the soldier or murdering (and torturing, in Alleg’s case) the bandits, or even the terrible things he did as a child in Tarbean—makes sense, it was tramatic. But three seconds after having the feeling he’s convinced himself that however. . . er. . . unsavory. . . the actions, he was justified in taking them. This may set up K’s hard-won humility in the frame, but makes me realize that our young Kvothe has all the sensitivity and empathy of an unripened turnip upside down in a muddy field.
thistle pong
75. thistlepong
Wetlandrew@72
::absolute agreement:: Or nearly so.

KiztheWiz@74
1. IIRC= if I recall correctly
2. Folks seem to think Hal indicates "of" there. Hal as a prefix out here indicates a salt. So Salt/Iax or Salf of Iax. Keeping in mind, of course, that the deep name is Alaxel; Skarpi may have been trying to tell Kvothe something.
3. The Iron Law seems, I dunno, normal. Punishment for antisocial behavior with a religious slant. There are arbitrary bits, but the demons they were rooting out were real. Adem law, and the Lethani, heavily favor the Adem in every instance. If anything, their laws are harsher, more brutal. I agree that the folks in Levinshir seem straight out of a romantic western. I think that's why we come away from the sequence without outrage. Ultimately, those were some bad folks and the voices in the context agree they probably had it coming. So we tend to follow their lead.

Kvothe certainly struggled with his killing sprees, but in the frame he's even more righteous about it. By the time he gets back to the University any moral questions have been resolved. He's back to pranking Ambrose and sticking it to the Masters.
Steven Halter
76. stevenhalter
KiztheWiz@74: meh is basically a verbal shrug indicating indifference or boredom. You usually see it in contexts like:
poster1: "Did you see the thing! Colors! Stuff!"
poster2:"meh"
Sean Mei
77. Xylus
I've been wondering something for a while. Has anyone considered the significance of Tinkers? They seemed to be just a piece of background, but I'm sure there's more to it.
Tinkers have been around for a very very long time, Tinker Tanner is one of the oldest songs with more than 2000 years of history. Are they around in the Creation War and did they have a role in it?
Tinker has a universality to them. Everyone in the 4c knows Tinkers and they should treat them nice. It's like Chandrians, everyone around the world is telling a same story.
Tinkers wander in the world alone. With the exception of the Tinker that came to Waystone Inn in the frame story, all of them are travelling alone even in parts where roads are bad. And it seems that only the most desparate bandits will lay their hands on Tinkers. Do Tinkers defend themselves or are they protected by somebody? This wondering the world stuff appears a bit like human Amyrs, wandering justices. Is there a link? Are Tinkers the human agents currently working for Amyr in 4c? Kvothe met Tinkers in both occasions before his encounter with Chandrian, is this just a coincidence?
Where do Tinkers come from? They appear to have a special ability. Do they live together like the Adems and teach each others or is there some other way for them to hand down their skills. How does one become a Tinker, is there a Tinker school somewhere? Or does Tinker die, are the Tinkers in the world now the same group of Tinkers that existed in the Creation War? I mean they all look old. This "Tinkers don't die" theory has some flaws as Tinkers are strictly human, and Felurian acts as though there are no Tinkers in Fae.
I'm guessing that Tinkers may have a role to play going forward, it's been hiding in plain sight, but still mysterious and we don't know much about them.
Steven Halter
78. stevenhalter
Xylus@77:Yes, we've wondered about Tinkers a few times. All of your questions are good (and unanswered.) It seems pretty clear that Tinkers aren't just guys wandering around selling stuff.
Exactly what they are isn't known.
thistle pong
79. thistlepong
@77/8
I had a weird thought about tinkers a long while back. I dunno if I presented it here. Anyway, enjoy some irresponsible (and possibly old) guesswork.

I wondered if tinkers didn’t have something to do with the Mender Heresies. In Hespe's "The Boy Who Loved the Moon," the tinker is left with the grand old manshion and told, "It's up to you to mend it." Folk have noted similarities between Trapis’s story – likely from The Book of the Path – and Skarpi’s stories. However, chief among the difeerences is Tehlu pulling a Jesus and incarnating as Menda.

I think Tehlu & Pals co-opted more than just one old tradition. The Menders may have been the original tinkers and/or may have venerated that original fellow. Tinkers, Menders, may be interested in lending folk a helping hand.

In order to discredit the Menders and strengthen their own story, the Tehlins grafted Tehlu onto the Mender. He becomes Menda, traveling, helping, saving cities while adding the martial flavor of the Aturan Tehlin church. One of the central struggles of the early Catholic church centered around the trinity - who and what Jesus, YHWH, and the "spirit" were and how they related to one another. The Mender Heretics likely maintained that Mender was not Tehlu.

I figure there’s some support in Emperor Alcyon’s purges. Ruh weren’t the only rabble travelling on the roads then or now.
arcticcivvie
80. TheFrog
I've also had "metadata" thoughts on the Tinkers. Being an old AD&D gamer, it seems the Tinkers are the perfect DM tool to provide what the adventurers needed but were missing in the middle of an adventure. And seeing as how PR has stated he used to game in his world pre-novels, I would not be surprised to learn he used them for this purpose. Not that this has anything to do with how PR created them as part of the 4C world. Just me reminiscing as a previous DM.
George Brell
81. gbrell
@74.KiztheWiz/76.shalter:

MEH in this context is "Moral Event Horizon." It's a shorthand for an action that is so morally dubious that a protagonist cannot recover from it. For further reading, I direct you to TVTropes:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MoralEventHorizon
Steven Halter
82. stevenhalter
gbrell@81:Good to know--I've never heard it used that way.

Meh MEH, meh.
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.
thistle pong
83. thistlepong
TvTropes has pretty extensive entries on NW, WMF, and the KKC in general. Folks might find them interesting. But please blame gbrell and not me if you lose time.
George Brell
84. gbrell
@83.thistlepong:

Point of fact, I just lost half an hour reading the KKC entries.
thistle pong
85. thistlepong
Don't miss the Epileptic Trees in the WMG forest:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WMG/TheKingkillerChronicle?from=WMG.TheNameOfTheWind
arcticcivvie
86. Herelle
@84,85 Oh no, the perfect work avoidance!
There is this Denna ? Denna theory again. If that´s true, whom is Kvothe in love with? He actually knows Denna 2 better, he only met Denna 1 once.
thistle pong
87. thistlepong
Does anyone have SusanLoyal's original argument bookmarked?
Steven Halter
89. stevenhalter
duplicate
Ryan Reich
90. ryanreich
There seems to be no post today. Did Jo delay it somewhere that I missed the notice?
Rob Munnelly
91. RobMRobM
@90. It came. Look again or click on Jo's name for all of her posts.
Hero Canton
92. HeroineOfCanton
Rob,
Thanks for the tip about clicking on Jo's name. The new post never appeared on the index for me, and I was getting a little snippy. ;)
Rob Munnelly
93. RobMRobM
92 - "Your love for her now aint hard to explain, the Heroine of Canton, the woman they call Jo!"

I, for one, only swear when it's appropriate. LOL

Rob
Hero Canton
94. HeroineOfCanton
LOL! Thanks again, Rob. I just read it all, including comments, so I'll be able to sleep tonight.
Ryan Reich
95. ryanreich
@91: Thanks. Weird, it's not linked on either the main page or the reread index.
Jo Walton
96. bluejo
No idea why that didn't work. I have asked some clever person to fix this, and Tor.com has lots of clever people and I'm sure they will, but maybe not instantly because it is a holiday weekend.
Felipe Martins
97. felipem
Damn, I just lost like 2 hours at TvTropes!
marcon
98. marcon89
Just wanted to add my own take on the morality of Kvothe‘s killing of the false troupers.
I don't think we can apply our moral standards to this situation. We need to remember that the Ruh in general are considered almost outlaws, unless protected by a writ of protection by a powerful noble. They are believed to be thiefs and child-stealers by the settled population and would not recieve the same justice. It is even possible that the false troupe would be cleared of wrongdoing by a magistrate for their deeds. I think PR writes this in a clear parallel to how travelling Roma were treated in Europe throughout much of the middle ages and later periods, not even to speak of the Third Reich in the least.
The way I read it, Kvothe almost immediately realises that the troupers are not Ruh. The false troupe possesses wagons clearly marked with intact Ruh signs, nothing any Ruh would have sold them before destroying said signs. Furthermore they try to pass themselves of as Ruh, indicating their possible involvement in the violence that clearly must have happened.
Almost the first thing the false troupers start proudly telling him are their misdeeds, tarnishing the whole of the Ruh people in the process. He clearly states that any Ruh behaving in such a way, harming their people‘s reputation is branded and punished severely. I would assume the Ruh to practice a very harsh justice in any such cases, as rumours about them could have possible devastating consequences for the whole of their people. I can‘t remember the place in the book, where Kvothe talks about a time, when it was a favourite sport of the nobility to hunt the Ruh.
In conclusion, I would argue almost the opposite of what several people in this thread have said about the morality of Kvothe‘s actions. I think that Kvothe acted exactly, how his upbringing would have expected him to, even before he finds out about the two kidnapped and tormented girls. And that his nightmares are a sign of him still not being the hard man we know from the frame story.
Personally, I can't see, how this is any worse than the „slaughter“, however desperate, of the bandits in the employ of Cinder, which didn't seem to faze anyone. Neither recieved a trial. The only difference lies, in what it does to Kvothe as a human being, to kill people, who beg for their lives.
I am generally a strong opponent of the death penalty. Partly, because of the real possibility of wrongfully executed innocents, of which several cases in the US came to light recently. It is also not much more than half a century that my country (Germany) had a dictatorship, in which political trials and death sentences were frequent.
arcticcivvie
99. Jon Brown
I am not sure if anyone has pointed it out before or not, but I just had a thought here about Kvothe's age in the story. If the months are 44 days long, and I believe it has been established that the year is 10 months long, the Kvothe is actually older than at first we might think. At 15 years old in 4C time he would have been alive for 6,600 days. When we translate that into Earth time, Kvothe would have been just over 18 when he started at University, and somewhere between 19 and 20 during this part of the story. For me, this helps make some of what happens in the books a lot more believable.
arcticcivvie
101. Gradey the Bard
I for one have no morality problems at all with this section. I put myself in K's shoes and find that I could easily have the same reaction.

First, you realize that these people are not Ruh and the only way they could have come by the items they have is theivery. It is not in any way out of the question that K snuck around the camp and knew they had captive women also.

Murders, theives and rapist met on a country road miles from civilization? Yes sign me up for a mass slaughter. I LOVED the section about thinking of Alleg and smiling. Sometimes you do bad things for good reasons...this was K learning that lesson.
Kate Hunter
102. KateH
Regarding the morality of this section of the book, I think we should keep in mind that K is 16 years old and finds himself (yet again) in an exceptionally difficult situation. How many of us had a perfectly developed moral code at that age and the wisdom and strength of will to act in accordance with it under great stress?

I think K's moral development is a major theme that PR brings into play in WMF, and we'll see further development in D3. His walking reverie of the conversation with Vashet about the Lethani, followed by the discussion with Gran in Levinshir are pretty telling. Two different third-party views of his actions, one right after the other. He's struggling with what he did even if he doesn't fully realize it. K isn't an amoral monster, but he has strong defenses against emotional trauma. For my part, I cut him a lot of slack and agree that he did a right thing. In time, he may learn to do the right thing.
Corey Johnston
103. Coreyartus
I have to agree with KateH. It seems that one of the major themes through this series is context of morals and values. PR has written several scenarios where Kvoth's understanding of right and wrong is tested in several different ways in different contexts. At the heart of things, it seems to me, is the idea of absolutism vs. relativism. "The greater good" of the Amyr at what cost? Personal desire and need of Lanre and the Chandrian balanced against what? The needs of the many vs. the needs of the few--who determines how that is implemented and how is internalized in our own personal actions? How do we learn what that means, both culturally and personally--through the stories we grow up with?

PR, as an epic fantasy writer, has said over and over again that one of his greatest interests is our application of tropes when we read this type of literature. I'm wondering if the structure of his storytelling and our resulting pondering of the moral relativism of the protagonist isn't exactly what we're supposed to be doing. I wonder if the events of these chapters stick out to some of us as odd on purpose. Our desire for a clear-cut hero may be exactly what PR is playing against. For some, we buy into it as easily as we would any Campbell Heroic journey. But something is amiss to readers reading between the lines. And I wonder if that's exactly what PR is counting on: our recognition of that juxtaposing disonance of character, so easily explained away, and yet so obviously jarringly unsettling.

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