Apr 26 2012 2:00pm

Rothfuss Reread: Admissions Questions for Pat?

Welcome to my reread of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. This week we’re doing something different. We’ve nearly finished going through the book in insane detail, just one more post to go, which will be next week. But to finish the series, I’m going to do an email interview with Pat, which will be posted in two weeks. And you can have input into the questions.

Behind the cut will be spoilers for all of The Wise Man’s Fear and The Name of the Wind.

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 ted in WMF, none of them really came up explicitly in NW. The first is the Amtheories. The re-read index. The map. The timeline. Imaginary Linguistics.

So, we’re almost at the end of the read and we have a lot of questions. Pat has graciously agreed to answer some of them. However, he doesn’t want spoilers for D3 and neither do we. He says he’s prepared to talk about the world and questions about things he said in interviews, like the Auri thing.

Now I know we have a lot of questions, so I want to keep this under control. Also I don’t want to distract Pat too much from getting on with D3. So I want people to think carefully about what they really really want to know, and avoid repetition. Also, I want it to be fun. So let’s do this in the form of Admissions, where questions are strictly limited.

Anyone may ask one question. E’lir may ask two. Re’lar may ask three. I reserve the right to amend and merge questions as feels best, and obviously to arrange the order in which I pass them on to Pat.

Next week we’ll finish with the last five chapters, and we’ll conclude this re-read the week after with the interview.

Questions, everyone?


Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published two poetry collections and nine novels, most recently the Hugo and Nebula nominated Among Others. 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.

Rob Munnelly
1. RobMRobM
I believe I'm entitled to two.

1) Have we met the Poet King on screen in NoTW or WMF?

2) Is D originally from Analin or nearby? Was D traveling to Analin in NoTW to attempt a reunion with her family living in the City or nearby? Edit to restate the question.

Edit: Bonus question - someone else should feel free to ask it with his or her lawful questions: Did D spend any time in Fae before meeting Kvothe in NOTW?

Edit to correct the proper book in 2).
2. lluke
How do you feel about this quote? Or, rather, how do you think we think you think about this quote?

"If I ruled the world, or at least a publishing company, all books would contain as much supplementary information as possible. Nonfiction, fiction—doesn’t matter. Every work would have an appendix filled with diagrams, background information, digressions and anecdata. And of course, maps. Lots and lots of maps." — Victoria Johnson

This isn't a question really, just a plea disguised as a question. I'll come right out with it: kind sir, my kingdom for a map. I can see one of the University on the chalkboard behind you in that picture of you in the Joss Whedon shirt... it exists doesn't it? Why are you hiding it from us?
3. BillMill
Pat, please share your recipe for Kvothe's favorite megethlin. After you let slip on your blog that you're a mazer (in addition to being amazing), I cannot be persuaded that you don't have this recipe on tap, so to speak. Please share!
4. "Just Anyone" Andy
1) If/when we move our family to (mumble) in Wisconsin, can we be friends?

lake sidey
5. lakesidey
This is a long shot, since Auri was probably not initially supposed to even be there, but...

Is there any connection between Auri and Laurian? (Given that Auri seems to mother him a lot, and promises to protect him, and stuff...small things I seem to pick up a lot in WMF)

Rowan Shepard
6. Rowanmdm3
Wait, what did he say about Auri in an interview? Link, reference, help! I don't want to ask about something he already answered.
Gary Singer
7. AhoyMatey
A lot of questions would be spoilers. Here's one that shouldn't be:
What are the things/forces that a trifoil compass tracks?

We spent some time on that...
Ryan Reich
8. ryanreich
Finally, that midnight post about knots will pay off! My three questions:

1. (Nerdy) What's a thaum? Explain it in physics terms, as much as possible.

2. (Character) Why was Kvothe so incredibly tactless when telling the Maer about the bandits? After rushing back to avoid letting him get a bad impression from hearing the news second-hand, Kvothe then told him the news in a way that ensured he would get exactly the same impression and that Kvothe would be obligated to reveal that he was a Ruh, which he had been hiding from the court.

3. (Meta) That literary pinup calendar you published for Lee Moyer is pretty cool. Could you and he get together and do a Kingkiller Calendar? Kvothe, Elodin, Denna, Auri, Sim, Wil, Fela, Ambrose, Manet, Devi, Vashet, Felurian (the pinup). You could get even more if you combined some of these...

This may be the most fun post yet!
9. ColinH
Can PR explain the significance of wearing a ring on one's right vs. left hand? It's one of those little worldbuilding details that I'm dying to know…
thistle pong
10. thistlepong
That's fantastic, Jo! I wondered what your mysterious fun entries were gonna be. Thank you.
Felipe Martins
11. felipem
One question that doesn't make him spoil anything? That's just mean xD... Oh well, this was the best I managed:

If you had to make a D&D 3.5 character sheet of some of the characters (Kvothe, Kote, Denna, Bast, Bredon, Ambrose, Auri) on KKC what would their alignments (Lawful/Neutra/Chaotic - Good/Neutral/Evil) be?
Jeremy Raiz
12. Jezdynamite
Thanks Jo. You are brilliant. Now to rack my brain for two questions...
thistle pong
13. thistlepong


When questioned about Kvothe's alignment:
Here’s my total geek answer: I didn’t even have to think about it. Chaotic good.
Though honestly, now that I pause for consideration, it’s possible he’s neutral good. He doesn’t work actively against the system, he just doesn’t feel constrained by it.
Now, of course, you’ve got me thinking about everyones’ alignment.
Some are easy, like Master Lorren: Lawful Good.
Some are hard, like Elodin. Chaotic neutral? True neutral? He’s just too complicated to put in a box like that. Plus there’s a lot of him you haven’t seen yet. I honestly don’t know where I’d put him overall.
The more I think about it, the fact that I can’t fit most of the characters into little AD&D boxes makes me feel good. It shows that they’re more complex than that. I hope that complexity isn’t just inside my head. I’d like to think that y’all get to experience it too….
Felipe Martins
14. felipem
Ooohh, thanks a lot for that link thistle! But to be completly honest, my intention is another character alignment ;D

EDT: Intresting, he sees Lorren as Lawful... that's not good news for the theory of Lorren being an Amyr... too bad, I liked that one =/
Nathan Love
15. n8love
I thought my promotion was awesome when it was just about gloating to my sister, but actual benefits? Yes, please!

1. What are the properties of copper that make it a choice material for Elodin's cell walls and Taborlin's blade?

2. Does time have a Name that could be mastered in the same way as stone or wind?

Thanks to Jo and Pat. I'm bubbling with so many more questions which are even more obviously spoiler-y or tangential or unrelated to KKC.
16. Anomandaris
Have you ever thought about writing the Kingkiller Chronicles again after finishing D3, but with Cob as the narrator?

George Brell
17. gbrell

The original draft of the story didn't have Auri in it. She was an addition in revision.

From this interview series:

I believe the Auri comment is in Part 2 (of 3).
19. DEL
Yay! I am so glad to have two questions.

1. Did the Justice send the two thugs to find Kvothe in Analin and then in Imre?

2. Are the ranks of angels and amyr fixed?
Nathan Love
20. n8love
@6 Rowanmdm3
Pat later lamented having made this statement. It gives the wrong impression; just because a character was invented during revision doesn't mean they are not important. Letting people know that Auri came later tends to lead to assumptions about her that you wouldn't feel if you had only read the finished work. I'll try to find a link.
Jonah Feldman
21. relogical
I don't think these questions will lead to spoilers, but you never know. No big deal if they can't be answered; there are plenty of good questions to be answered.

1. Does the difficulty of learning names vary widely from Namer to Namer and thing to thing, or is there some rough order of difficulty? Eg. copper hinted as somewhat 'proof' against magic and stone being learned by a new Namer.

2. Language question: Is Edema Ruh and/or Adem related to the Hebrew edom and adamah, meaning red and earth?
Alice Arneson
22. Wetlandernw
FWIW, while some people downplay Auri's importance because "she was an addition in the revision," I suspect it should be the other way. If the original draft was not satisfactory and needed her to make it work better, then her role might be quite pivotal. We're all pretty convinced that PR isn't given to adding in useless filler, so he clearly felt she was an important addition.
Rowan Shepard
23. Rowanmdm3
@ 17. gbrell and 20. n8love
Thanks for clarifying! It's actually Part three around minute 8.

Now I just need to decide what my question will be :)
Hero Canton
24. HeroineOfCanton
I completely agree. If there wasn't something missing, some compelling reason that you need to add a charcter, you don't go back and add them after you've finished.

My question:
Please explain the currancy system. How many shims to a jot to a talent, etc.
Katy Maziarz
25. ArtfulMagpie
Would it be too frivolous to ask this? "You have three spades in your hand. And there have been five spades played. How many spades is that?" LOL!

Here's a more serious question: What are the names and meanings/properties of all 197 runes used in sygaldry?
26. Silkki
Oh no, there goes my sleep... Time to pick up the books and try to find something worthwhile to ask...

Jo, can you tell us the rough deadline for the questions?
27. master
this probably isnt going to be answered but:

does the line "not tally a lot less mean anything".

also, how does alchemy work. its been bugging me for years.
Alf Bishai
28. greyhood
Jo, I just wanted to say that I really get a kick out of your writing style. I always enjoyed the blue square appearances. My favorite thing you said was something like 'the CTH can't be behind the DOS because he's sitting in a tree in the middle of fae being a pain.' Or something like that. Which of your books would you recommend me picking up? Any brain teasers? Mysteries?

In a sense I'm glad the re-read is winding down so that I can forget about D3 until it comes out. Otherwise life just feels like the D3 Waiting Room, and the office is really behind and doesn't know when they'll be able to see me.

My first question (compound):
1) It says sympathy was invented at the University. Are magics truly invented or just discovered and developed, like radio? If invented, are there other magics to be created? Does Kvothe create one? Is the Fae realm different from the 4C in the kind of magics that can be created there?

Is that one question or twelve? Boiling it down: tell us about the creation of magics in the 4C compared to the Fae. Re-word at will.

29. Spirit Theif
I have been absent from the reread for weeks and this is what I find when I return. Thanks so much to Jo and Pat for this wonderful opportunity.

Now to choose a question. Oh no. He wouldn't give us a map, would he? No he'd just evil laugh at us. (with a beard like that he must have a maniacal evil laugh).

Ok. Here it goes. What is the difference between Shaping and Naming, and can they be done through physical movement (knot tying, the ketan, singing)?

I don't remember if I was promoted or not, so I sort of shamelessly weasled a second question.
Gary Singer
30. AhoyMatey
@27 It's K's mom's name - Netalia Lackless. This has been discussed before. It's the reason K's dad had to sleep under the wagon :)
31. jasonM
If e'lir is see-er and re'lar is speaker/namer, what is the significance of el'the?
32. jasonM
If e'lir is see-er and re'lar is speaker/namer, what is the significance of el'the?
Rob Munnelly
33. RobMRobM
@28. The obvious Jo book to read is Among Others, which came out last year and just got nominated for a Hugo. About a sci fi obsessed teenage girl ... and fairies. I also liked the Farthing series - three books about an alternative history where England reaches an accommodation with Nazi Germany, causing drama and problems for clique of well placed insiders and others (especially including Jews).
Melanie S
34. starryharlequin
felipem@14: that's interesting, because Lorren being lawful good I would say is evidence that supports him being an Amyr, not rejects it! As the Amyr always seemed like paladins to me.
thistle pong
35. thistlepong
The alignment question is weirdly subjective. Pat probably started with 1st edition, the answer in the blog seems informed by 2nd, and the question was answered when players would be thinking in 3.5 terms. In any case, the Amyr are a bit like Nixon: when the Ciridae do it, that means that it is not illegal. First , maybe LG. Third, definitely LG. Second, outside the lawful sphere.
thistle pong
36. thistlepong
Admissions questions:

Arwyl: Would Kilvin and Wil likely be portrayed by black actors if there were a screen version?

Brandeur: Where on the map was Caluptena located?

Lorren: You've mentioned in interviews that your world building extends to dead religions. What can you tell us about them?

Elxa Dal: At a signing in Austin, you said there were six different types of magic in the series, five of which we’d seen. What are they or, if the sixth constitutes a spoiler, what are the five we’ve seen?
37. RuafaolGaiscioch
In crafting such a complex and interconnected story, I can see how much of an advantage your constant rewrites would be in tightening up and connecting all the various threads of the story. When you're writing, though, do you generally craft out the intricacies of the plot in your head/in an outline beforehand and work your way towards them, or do the various complexities more often evolve out of the constant rewrites?
Nathan Love
38. n8love
@36 Thistlepong

Have we run these down? I immediately thought Naming, Shaping, Sympathy, Knacks, and (sigh) Knots. But then, are Knots actually Naming? or Shaping? But what about Fae magics like Bast's glamour or Felurian's singing and weaving? or are those Shaping? Do Knacks really count? What about Listening, like the man in the cave? Which makes me think that Listening was first, then Naming, then Shaping. If a magic is derivative (a la Artificing and Sympathy) then is Pat counting it as a separate magic?

So I have just decided that I like your question and thought you should know. And if I had to sacrifice one of mine to know the answer then that would be okay as long as it was the second one.
39. Trollfot
Ooh, I was going to make one of mine a question about colour but now I don't have to and I must think of a new one!
(Btw, if Pat says the Cealds are black, he's wrong! Wrong wrong wrong! ;) It just doesn't make sense.)

I'm now officially double happy I made e'lir! :D
40. Mouette
@30: *We've* discussed it at length. While it looks incredibly likely, sounds too close and too clever to be coincidence, and I certainly believe in it, that doesn't - necessarily - mean that we're right. Then again, if we are right, the likelihood of PR answering @27's question outright seems slim.

My question is, could you translate kote, kist, and crayle for us? It's such a lovely swear, but I'd like to know what it means. We know that kote is disaster from Kilvin's 'expect disaster every seven years', I think.
Andrew Mason
41. AnotherAndrew
Is there any significance in the fact that Tempi looks like Simmon (or, putting it another way, that Simmon looks like an Adem)?

(I think I'm entitled to another, but can't think of one right now.)
thistle pong
42. thistlepong
It's a risk and a blessing getting your questions out early. I'm glad I could free one up for you. Ultimately I went with what I really wanted to know and tried to be brief. Obviously the second one's kind of broad, but ever since I read they were there, I've wanted to know about them.

It turns out that no matter how many questions you get, you want more. I'd really like to know where Caluptena was, but it can wait. I'm not sure if anyone's ever just straight up asked where Newarre is, either.

@41 A thousand thanks for asking about that.
43. Questionable
What sort of creature was a draccus before Chronicaller turned them into herbivorous lizards by writing about them?
Jeremy Raiz
44. Jezdynamite
thistlepong: I'd glady use these questions to ask about Caluptena and Newarre but I feel they'd be dismissed as spoilers. I'm guessing my second question will be a spoiler too but who knows.

(1) Are the 3 words (a) Aerueh (where tinkers find polished horns, mentioned once in NoW), (b) Arueh (where fine dark ink is made, mentioned 3 times in WMF) and (c) Aeruh (the word Haliax uses to command the air to bind Selitos, in NoW) connected in any way (other than being spelled similarly)?

(2) Does Baron Greyfallow's family name originate from a bird (a grey fallow), a deer (also a grey fallow), or perhaps the place called Fallow (where red and white wine Is made)?
Jessica Walden
45. jessicaw
How does Loren know of Kvothe's father? He called him Arliden the Bard during Kvothe's first admission interview.
46. MaxTastic
Where is Newarre? And don't say nowhere.

I'll take coordinates.
47. arcticcivvie
I would like to know if the huge online community has affected Pat's writing at all. He writes an extremely careful, well-crafted story with foreshadowing, tiny hints and clues, and then it gets absolutely dissected and all of that pulled right into the open.

For example, when Robert Jordan was deep in the middle of his series, a lot of fans had crazy ideas about the hidden identities of the Forsaken, etc. But they were mostly private speculation. Only within the past 10 years have all the discussions really blown up on the internet. Then, suddenly, out of all the rubbish, the best theories kinda 'float to the top', and sometimes what was very carefully hinted at becomes blindingly obvious. I mean, I would NEVER have figured out Netalia Lockless on my own. Never.

Robert Jordan started to 'play' with his fans a bit, it seems, laying red herrings & stuff. How about Pat? Has he tried to make it harder for the Wikipedia-like power of the internet to just totally expose things, or is he more like, "Meh, if you want to ruin the story for yourselves, go ahead"?
48. Fina
Okay I don't know if I miss the detail on it, but this has been bothering me for some time.
In WMF ch7 Auri came to Kvothe's room to comfort him.

My question is:
How can Auri knows the way to Kvothe's room? It's never been mentioned that they ever talk about it.
49. Chipmaker
How does the voting of the University council work? When vote totals are announced, there's usually a half-vote in there. Does the chancellor have an extra half- or full-vote, which he can split? I haven't tried going back to do the math, but it always seemed a bit skewed.
(Or is Master Linguist simply very bad at arithmetic? I picked up hints of this.)
Hero Canton
50. HeroineOfCanton
"Then, suddenly, out of all the rubbish, the best theories kinda 'float to the top', and sometimes what was very carefully hinted at becomes blindingly obvious. I mean, I would NEVER have figured out Netalia Lockless on my own. Never."

Thank you for saying that out loud. I've been feeling like I must be the only stupid person who didn't get that.
51. Spirit Theif
@36, 38

I really hope he answers this. I immediately thought sygaldry, sympathy, glammourie, grammerie, naming, shaping.

But that doesn't make sense if we've only seen 5 types of magic. Is sygaldry a type of sympathy? Or do glammourie/grammerie both fall under the category of Fae Magic? And what about the D's "written magic" and the skin-dancer's magic? Or the Adem swords and ever burning lamps? What even makes a type of magic different from another?

Well I'm certainly not getting anywhere with this question. Fingers crossed that Pat answers.
John Graham
52. JohnPoint
All right, here are my two questions:

1) Are all the different types of magic (e.g., naming/shaping, sympathy/sygaldry, alchemy, glamourie, gramerie, etc.) fundamentally different, or are they actually different sides of the same six-sided die?
(Thanks, Thistlepong @36 for pointing out that Pat indicated there are 6 and we've seen 5; I hadn't heard that before!)

EDIT: hmm, I see spirit thief @51 is getting essentially the same question as my #1, but I've been wondering about it for awhile, so I'll stick with it.

2) Is there a way of repairing a Ramston steel blade once it has been broken?
Steven Halter
53. stevenhalter
Thanks for setting this up Jo.

1. How long was Elodin the head master?
2.What is the physical shape of the world of the 4C? (Spherical, flat, hyperbolic, ...)
3.After D3 is done, what areas (or topics) of the 4C are you interested in exploring? (not even necessarily something you are going to write about)
Andrew Mason
54. AnotherAndrew
I mean, I would NEVER have figured out Netalia Lockless on my own. Never

Same here. Which is why I dislike the speculation that this 'obvious' theory may turn out to be wrong.

This happens all over the place nowadays. At the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, a mysterious message is discovered, signed by R.A.B. Within a day or so fans had speculated that this was Regulus Black. However, shortly after this others were saying that it couldn't be Regulus Black because this was too obvious. Regulus Black had been mentioned twice, very briefly. The average casual reader didn't remember that he existed. And yet for obsessive fans, he was 'too obvious'.
Mary Cramb
55. mereader
Here is my one question:

Please explain the Adem concept of "anger." If you were to translate it into English, what word would you use? (Current theories include "passion," "ambition," and the effects of testosterone.) Why do men and women have different amounts of it or more or less uses for it?
Ryan Reich
56. ryanreich
AnotherAndrew @54: Here's a joke well-known in math circles. A young mathematician, early in his career, is giving a lecture to an audience including a famous and brilliant older professor. The professor was feared for his incisive questions but typically slept through lectures, and the young speaker hoped this would happen in his talk. Alas, during the exposition of the key result, the professor's eyes snapped open and he pointed to an innocuous equation at the center of the proof and asked "Why is that true?" The speaker, caught flatfooted, struggled to answer. The silence stretched on for minutes while neither could provide an explanation. Then the professor waved his hand and said, "Oh, I see. Never mind, it's obvious."

It's obvious because it's easy to explain, not because the explanation is easy to find.

mereader @55: I have the feeling that Rothfuss will answer "it translates to 'anger', of course". I mean, it is already in English, and Vashet says it's the right word.
57. Lurking Canadian
I think I made Re'lar at the last convocation, so here are my two: one semi-serious and one very silly.

1) Why are there no other scholarship students at the University? It seems that, status conscious as the whole civilization is, the members of the Arcanum at least understand that ability doesn't always follow bloodlines. Why have they not come up with some way to let students in who aren't rich?

2) Seriously, what's up with the moon being always full before the War of Naming? Is the world a disc riding on the back of a turtle?
58. ak1287
@mereader: I think the meaning is pretty obvious in that passage: Kvothe is a musician, musicians love music and their insturments. I guess if you were thick, you could read it as being sexist, though.

Unfortunately, all my questions are about D3, so I'm just going to go out on a limb; it seems that Kvothe is somewhat a celebrity now, so how do you think his past friends (Wil, Sim, Fela, Mola, Auri and the like) as well as the figures from Imre and the University (Deotch, Lorren, Elodin ) feel about Kvothe? I'm assuming he's far enough away that there isn't a major concern he would run into them again, but have any of them tried to look for him?
George Brell
59. gbrell

I believe the Chancellor gets an extra half-vote. This is somewhat confirmed by Kvothe's comments in WMF that Hemme's vote "would count doubly against " after Hemme becomes Chancellor (Ch. 150. Folly). Though if you think about it, it's actually fairly useless, since with a nine man council you'll never have ties unless someone abstains or is absent (which may have been common prior to Kvothe's admission based on the Chancellor's slip on the number of masters at Kvothe's first disciplinary hearing or the Chancellor's illness as of the end of WMF).

If you want to check the math, we know that Elodin's vote counts for only one (as he is the only master to change his vote from against to for Kvothe in the two votes in Ch. 40. On the Horns, moving it from 4.5 to 5.5).

The problem is that the votes tend to break along similar lines (with Brandeur and Hemme always opposing Kvothe, occasionally joined by Lorren and Mandrag). The other problem is that the Chancellor does not always announce the totals (Ambrose's convictions for theft and destruction of property are both unnumbered and Kvothe's subsequent expulsion and re-admission/raising to Re'lar are as well).
George Brell
60. gbrell

Considering we devoted a pretty significant portion of a nearly 200-post thread to that question and didn't come up with a concensus, I don't think one needs to be thick to read that passage as sexist.
Ryan Reich
61. ryanreich
gbrell @60: It's weird, though, since the passage says that it is not sexist; i.e. Kvothe makes his statement, analyzes it, anticipates the obvious objection, and then addresses it. Certainly if Rothfuss got the question "how should understand Kvothe's character from that paragraph?" he would answer that we should understand it exactly as Kvothe himself explains it. Can it still be sexist on the superficial level if the speaker shows that it is not intended that way? Can it be sexist on a deeper level? Is just saying anything of that sort sexist? If so, does the sexism derive from a fault of Kvothe or a fault of readers not wanting to accept that someone can make a statement treating women as objects linguistically without themselves considering women as objects?

None of those are my questions for Pat; I've already chosen. But if anyone wants to pick his brain on that subject, I think the last one is a good way to ask what mereader originally said without inviting a glib answer. And Rothfuss is a self-described feminist, so he'd probably give a well-considered answer.
thistle pong
62. thistlepong
@58 via 60
I'd second that.

Please refrain from insulting people. Don't be rude. Don't be inconsiderate. Don't belittle any question folks want to ask. Just ask yours and be please if it's answered.

Ryanreich, both ways you come at her question are less than genuinely polite. Might the question get a glib answer? Sure. Many of the questions above have already been answered glibly in one interview or another. Others he's begged folks not to ask again. Others he's ignored. There's no need to single mereader out.

Honestly if her question is chosen, even the glib answer tells us something about the author, the story, and the characters.

gbrell, thanks. +1
Felipe Martins
63. felipem
I say we leave that discussion to thread 25, otherwise, it'll all start again...
Ryan Reich
64. ryanreich
thistlepong @62: Both of my comments on mereader's questions were genuinely polite. If I seem to be singling him or her out for criticism, it's because those questions are also interesting to me, whereas I'm probably indifferent to others that may or may not be repetitive or invite glib responses, but that I didn't comment on. If I say that the response will be glib, what you say about Rothfuss's past responses also having been glib is evidence that he does do this in interviews (and you can see this from his blog, as well). When I say "the question phrased just-so is less likely to get a glib answer", I'm trying to encourage, not to discourage. I want to see a real answer if one can be gotten.

If you look at my comments in general, you will probably find (I can't guarantee it, but I know myself) that nothing I write is uncritically positive. Nor is anything I write uncritically negative. I only write anything at all if I think I have something to add; sometimes that sounds like it's subtracting, but it's not.
Jeremy Raiz
65. Jezdynamite
I'm glad you asked those first two questions. I wonder if Arueh and the Circle sea are considered the "book ends" of the mortal realm. I'd love to know the shape of the world the 4Cs is in.
Ashley Fox
66. A Fox
Oh gosh! This is quite a coup Jo, thank you! And PR, of course, for taking the time and interest.

Im really struggling for questions that actually stand a chance of being chosen/answered and will still be interesting! Argh. Also many good questions have already been put forward, can't ref them all here but am quite keen on @1's and the q's re magics.

Ok. I keep writing long & rambling in attempt to be direct. We know the text, PR assuradly does, so..

1.World Soul (excuse the name, it's not a Name), the inter-woven Names of all things inter-connected,inter-effected re Metclaf, Teccam-ish, a Jung like uber-group-consciousness of which the sleeping mind is part of/miniture model of (whether it be the sleeping mind of a person or entity ie the Wind). No energy is ever lost. But perhaps it can be taken. Did Iax take a big chunk of the world soul, weave it into whole-cloth and Shape Faen, thus seperating essential energy from the mortal world?

2.Weaving through the books is the Wind. It often helps or hinders Kvothe in a beneficial way (perhaps even warns in the frame). What does the wind want?

3.Elodin's sleeping mind was cracked wide open (and subsequent dolallyness ensued) about the same time Kvothe was born (by our reckoning). How is this related (if at all), and by any chance also related to the above 'world soul' idea?

Bugger. Thats 3, and I only have 2. Can I come back and confirm which 2 I choose? (Anysuggestions welcome, ha)
67. grapnel33
Everything I really want to ask is a spoiler for D3. Instead I will settle for something which is probably inconsequential enough that it could be amswered without breaking anything important and still interesting to those of us who enjoyed the timeline put together by Thistlepong.

What are the ages of the various Masters at the University?
Justin Levitt
68. TyranAmiros
Thank you so much for this opportunity! All right, I think I get to propose two questions. As always, please feel free to shape into whatever form is best:
1. Many fantasy authors draw from specific inspirations (e.g. the use of Norse myth in Tolkien or Arthuriana in Wheel of Time). Did you have any specific inspirations for the Kingkiller Chronicle?

2. Have you ever read Diana Wynne Jones' Tough Guide to Fantasyland or the Fantasy Tropes on TV Tropes? If so, were you ever deliberately evoking or subverting certain cliches or tropes in the series?
69. master
30.AhoyMatey @27 It's K's mom's name - Netalia Lackless. This has been discussed before. It's the reason K's dad had to sleep under the wagon :)
Wait, I thought this was just a theory. Has rothfuss confirmed it? if he hasnt the question still stands.
Mary Cramb
70. mereader
I'd really like to direct you to the discussion thread for part 25 if you don't think that passage is at least problematic. Just because Kvothe says he thinks he's not being sexist doesn't mean we readers have to agree with him.

Re: anger
I think Penthe says that Vashet didn't correct her when she used the word, not that she positively said that this is a good translation. Kvothe is mystified enough by this unconventional use of the word "anger" that he asks about it and Penthe gives a lengthy explanation that makes it seem like the concept is a bit broader than our usual use of the word. I'm most interested in the second part of the question, why it's not evenly distributed between the sexes.

They're valid questions.
71. Rossamund
I am amused/intrigued that, apparently, I am the only one who interpreted this exercise to mean that PR was the one being questioned for Admission to the University, so we should propose questions that one of the Masters might set to him. Hmmm. Not sure what that says about me...

Anyway, this one works from both interpretations:

Sygaldry: Explain why it is - or is not - a form of "written" magic.

This is turning out to be waaay fun - thanks Jo!
72. TheEightChandrian
How acuarate is the timeline of events here at Tor? LIike in percentage or something, also it'd be nice if you could point a thing or two you find amusing or interesting about it.
Jeremy Raiz
73. Jezdynamite
Did you know that the Hebrew word for blood shares it's origin/root with the words for red and earth?
Adam:....ah-dum - which could be like red/earth/'first blood'.
All have similarities to Edema Ruh and Adem.

Please ignore me if you knew all of this already
74. RedCanuck
What happened to Sovoy?
Gary Singer
75. AhoyMatey
master@69: You're right - it is just a theory, so the question IS worth asking. Pat can confirm it or not, but in the context of the poem and knowing who K's mother is, I'd be pretty surprised if it's anything else...
76. DarrenJL
@69 Yeah, it's a theory. And if true (and of course it's true), then it's a spoiler, since it's a major plot detail.
77. Silkki
About Cthaeh.

1) Did Cthaeh choose a future where he could meet with Kvothe?
(Manipulating others like Haliax, so that they would in turn send Kvothe to a path where he goes to fae etc.)

2) There seem to be some limitations to his ability to manipulate people, are those limitations from.

a) His foresight / knowledge is not good enough.
b) To reach a certain future Cthaeh needs to act in a certain way. Is he unable to act his role perfectly?
c) Limited possibilities in future. Person leaving his tree is unable to achieve goals Cthaeh has in mind.
Or there is nothing Cthaeh can do to make person do the things Cthaeh wants. (Making a person kill her mother would tigger huge catastrophe, but no matter what Cthaeh says or does she still doesn't do it.)
d) Something else.

Or does Cthaeh really have no limitations on how he manipulates people he meets?

Ninja question!
3) Mr. Rothfuss, did your mother happen to bed down with some wandering God several years ago?

Thank You!

(Please don't make Kvothe suffer too much in d3.)
78. PatentPending
If you were looking for clues regarding the Amyr, would it be best to stick by the Maer Alveron, or to look for a stick by the Maer?
79. ak1287
@thistlepong and gbrell: Yeah, I followed that conversation, and disagreed with it at the time. I'm not trying to use thick as an insult; I'm saying thick because you have to be especially stubborn to STILL read it that way.
If that IS insulting, then I'm sorry, but the problem isn't with my word choice.
Rob Munnelly
81. RobMRobM
@78 Bravo! I'm betting the latter - or, alternatively, both.
Darren James
82. b8amack
My question would be:

How unreliable is Kvothe, as a narrator? (If a scale is needed, then... 1-5? 1 being pretty darn reliable.)
Andrew Mason
83. AnotherAndrew
OK, my second question: Can you tell us about any locations we haven't seen yet which we'll be visiting on D3?

(I actually am interested in two locations in particular, Tinue and the Tahlenwald. But I thought a broader question gave him more opportunity to give a significant answer.)
84. Peaceman
my question:

Could you please explain exactly the rules of tak ?

Best wishes from Germany
85. robocarp
What's the population (roughly) of the Four Corners?
Jo Walton
86. bluejo
I have been chuckling aloud reading through these comments! I'll start organizing them and passing them on soon.

I can answer some of these things myself -- I know Pat isn't reading this re-read, though he knows it exists. And I know that this is largely so that he isn't influenced by our speculations and obsessions into going in directions that aren't right for the story. I mean we want to know why flame is blue, and how a trefoil compass works, but those explanations should only be in D3 if D3 needs them.

Greyhood: RobM is right, if you like these posts there's a strong chance you'd like Among Others. And thanks for asking.
Christopher Johnstone
87. CPJ
If it isn't too late, I believe I can pop in two questions (I might have been Chris Johnstone on tor when promoted to E'lir, but the space in the user name caused problems, so I switch to CPJ).

- Was the sparseness of the map a concious narrative choice? To me this feels a bit like providing only a scant physical description of a character, and allowing the reader to fill in the details from hints. It's an interesting choice for a fantasy epic.

- Was the trilogy a mystery in its initial concept, or did it grow in the telling? I listened to a couple interviews before thinking of questions, and the multiple revisions and passes you've undertaken, made me wonder if perhaps the books started as more conventional 'epic' in form and became more 'mystery' in structure during the process of rewritting.

I haven't read all 80-some comments, so I might be doubling up other people's thoughts. Hope I'm not too late with the questions, but you know, obviously, it's ok if I am.

thistle pong
88. thistlepong
sweet questions


My partner asked essentially the same question at a reading to almost no response, and backpedaled a bit into, "Who's your favorite unreliable narrator?" Pat's answer was all narrators are unreliable in a sense. Sort of the Obi-Wan, "What I said was true, from a certain point of view." I'm interested to see if he answers differently this time.

@79 detritivore
89. Outthere
Q - What is your favorite item that Auri gives Kvothe?

No need to explain the answer, just want to know which "thing" was most enjoyable to have Auri give K from the all-knowing author's perspective.

Hope its not too late to put one in, and thanks for doing this!
Jo Walton
90. bluejo
It's not too late, you can keep asking until this Thursday's post.
Rob Munnelly
91. RobMRobM
@84 - very good question - perhaps also ask when Tak originated (i.e., recently or thousands of years ago?) and also what culture originated it (i.e., Vintish? Fae?)
92. generalist
@82, 88

I, too, was thinking about the unreliable narrator question and wondering how much Rothfus would answer. Here's an alternative I came up with that looks at the distinction between Kvothe and Rothfus.

How good is Kote/Kvothe at foreshadowing?

Does anyone know if this has been asked elsewhere?
93. ryan7273
1) Allowing access to the translator forum would give all kinds of spoilers. It would also provide months of entertainment for those of us obsessive enough to be part of this re-read. Is there any chance you could make it publicly available AFTER day 3 has been released? The blog entry describing Denna's first appearance in Wise Man's Fear and the choice of wording was fascinating.

2) I would like to know the general shape of both the 4 Corners and the Fae and how they share the Moon. Are they standard shapes (sphere, flat, moebius, klein bottle) or do they rely entirely on magic to work as written?
94. nae77blis77
I'd like to ask what language the great namers spoke, when they founded the University. I suspect it's either Yllish, or the mother language of Yillish.
Skip Ives
95. Skip
I'd ask a bloody hands question, but I know it would be RAFOed, so I'll ask the one question we've all had at one time or another reading the two books:

Q: What the F is up with that map?
(Please feel free to answer in any way that avoids D3)

Idle speculation, if there were a D9 would it involve someone named Sean? |ObRef: Day9|
96. olthar
Since all the pressing questions may contain spoilers:

Are the Adem right about how childbirth occurs or is the rest of the world with their man mothers theory correct? (or, possibly more interestingly, are they both correct?)
97. Mar
A musical sound track would be so awesome. Have any musicians approached you with the idea?
98. master
where do they get all of the chocolate from. outside the four corners?
99. soupytwist
Ooh, I was going to ask the question about Adem pregnancy!

The only other not-horrifically-spoilery question I can think of is: Were there any particularly cool scenes/ideas/random facts about the 4C world you had to leave out, and could you please tell us about them if so?
100. Chimikh
1/ Are there any Edemah Ruh still alive in the present world except for Kote ?
2/ Has Kvothe already been killed in the story line (againt mercenaries or against the big dracchus ?). I mean did he come back from the dead ?
3/ How many Amyr did we cross paths with in the 2 first books ?
4/ Does Kvothe has a child ? A child with Felurian ? Bast ?
Ashley Fox
101. A Fox
Have (reluctantly) edited out the potencialy more spoiler-ish question. Cheers
Alf Bishai
102. greyhood
Q: Is Puppet part of an order, and are there any others who belong to that order that we have seen?

Q: Does Haliax have orange hair?
thistle pong
104. thistlepong
le double post
George Brell
105. gbrell

I've drafted three question groups for Patrick. Tried to avoid spoiler issues. These questions have multiple parts and branch. If you need to re-draft them or cut them down, feel free.

1) "Lu" appears to be a shared root of "Luten" (the first day of the span) and "Ludis" (the name of the moon in Hespe's story). Considering that days two through seven in the span appear to be named based on their numerical order (e.g., Caenin/Chaen is the seventh day and shares the root Chaen - "seven" - with Chandrian), does "lu" represent "one"? Or is the etymology of "Luten" similar to the etymology of Monday in English from "moon day" and thus "lu" represents "moon"? Or is it some combination of the two? Is "lu" in "Tehlu" the same root?

2) What were the Mender heresies (mentioned by Lorren near the end of WMF)? Are they related to "Menda" who is "Tehlu, son of "? Is Trapis a disciple of a schism variant of Tehlinism? Is there any relationship between Menda, the Mender heresies and the "menders" we see in the story, Tinkers?

3) Can sympathy and naming be used in conjunction with one another? In his Mistborn series, Sanderson hypothesizes a magic system wherein twinborn are able to exponentially increase their power by combining allomancy and feruchemy (e.g., the antagonist in Alloy of Law). Would it be possible to combine sympathy and naming in a similar manner? As examples: Would the name of "fire" provide essentially limitless energy for a sympathetic link? Would the name of "iron" allow for the creation and subsequent sympathetic manipulation of magnetic fields? Would the name of "stone" allow for the creation of infinite mass?
Ashley Fox
106. A Fox
@gbrell q3 is quite interesting. Ive thought that sympathy was actually a cross between Naming and the mental magics (ie Alar, Heart of Stone etc, though the unintentinal pun made me chuckle). The energies used being part of little Names, if you will, the mental processes being a connection with diff parts ones sleeping mind. Mmmm

I almost wish I could also ask what individual was calputena burned down for, and by whom...and why. :)
Steven Halter
107. stevenhalter
Congrats on being a Locus Award Fantasy novel finalist, Jo!

I see you're competing against that Rothfuss guy. Maybe he should do a reread of Among Others--seems only fair. ;-)
Jo Walton
108. bluejo
Shalter: Thanks. I voted for WMF!
chris flammang
109. xebo
In "The Wise Man's Fear", Kvothe's various romantic encounters weren't very emotionally developed; That is to say, they were more about physicality than an emotional connection between two people. Will this trend continue?
110. Flammy
Great questions in this thread... I hope the one about Master Lorren asking about Kvothe's father during his admisions is answered!

I hope this question isn't a spoiler :3 so it can be answered

Will we meet Baron Greyfallow in D3?
111. Kadith
Long time lurker here, I can't begin to express how enjoyable this reread has been. Thank you all! **extreme gratitude**

My question: How many more books with such amazing detail can we hope to see in the Four Corners?
112. Trollfot
I've decided to make my questions about the writing process because besides this, I only want to know spoilers for D3 :D. Jo, if you feel it's inappropriate to ask questions like these, just disregard them! Or, if you want, let me come up with new ones.

1) How is the writing going? Not stuck on anything major, I hope!

2) What was the trickiest part of re-writing WMF?
Julia Mason
113. DrFood
Well, I've cogitated a few days, and it's really really hard to come up with questions that don't hit the "spoiler" buzzer. I'm still fascinated by the idea of a loss of proprioception leading to less than fully skilled hands (or hand). I was delighted to read about the Trobriand Islanders and their matriarchal society spiced with oodles of casual sex. I was also chuffed to read an alternate version of the "Golden Screw" story. I get two questions. . .

1) Have you read about the Trobriand Islanders, the matriarchal society whose diet serves as birth control for the population?
2) Did you deliberately choose recessive traits for the Adem people's general appearance?
Lauren W
114. laurene135
From Kvothes rhyme we learn the runes aru, gea, teh, ferh, etc. Is there any meaning to "lu"? Does it mean "without" or some variant?
115. BenD.
Out of all the people speculating over your work, has there been one theory or idea you heard that was so off the mark or so silly you laughed? And if so, what was the funniest one?
116. VermilionCoyote
Could you answer one question from each school like you are taking a Semester exam?
117. Kashiraja
Is there anything you would change in book 1 or 2, either because you thought of something better, or just as an "alternative reality" fun idea?
118. Faek
Sorry if I'm too late to the party. The rule about spoilers make this really difficult as those seams to be the only ones worth asking. (semi-quoting Kvothe)

My questions are:
1. I've complimented earlier in the discussions on the very scientific magic system in Sympathy, but how do you explain the Sygaldry? The cooling boxes must get their energy from somewhere, unless the gods of thermodynamics in 4C are looking away...

2. Have you left us enough clues in the two first books to 'figure out' the plot? (i.e. could we, without stretching our minds to the extreme, figure out what the plan is)
119. Rush-That-Speaks
My two--

what system(s) do you use to keep track of all the details as you write-- spreadsheet, timeline, multiple tabs, index cards, hypertext, some ungodly combination of the above, something I haven't thought of? You clearly have impressive organizational powers and I'm interested in the techniques you use to apply them; information on detail-herding would be really neat.

Given that they seem to be giving you A Lot Of Pages per book, how worried should I be about book-creep, in the sense where George R.R. Martin wound up writing an entire extra book between the books he'd already planned? That is, do you think this is going to fit into three, or is there a possibility of overspill?

Captcha: mwwn return . Ooooookay then...
120. Zizoz
What is a «quothe» and how do you pronounce it?
121. Azerick
If its not too late...

1) Approx. what percentage of D3 will be in the frame story and how much in Kvothe's story? It seems that for the story to wrap up, some more events will need to take place in the frame story (i.e. Bast's end game, Kvothe's chest, etc.)

(Or instead, Will D3 only conclude Kvothe's telling such that more books in the future will be necessary to complete the frame story?)
122. TheFrog
I am struggling to find anything left to ask....

Grasping at straws here. Hope its not spoilery:
Is the grouping of "threes" (such as the three things that wise men should fear, repeating three times to ensure understanding, and the instances of three items in poems, etc.) important in a magical way to the 4Cs, or something you as a writer thought was "cool" to emphasize as symbolic in the story?
Bruce Wilson
123. Aesculapius
Aaaaagh! Real life just gets in the way sometimes, so I'm a little late to the party this week...!

I'm only just catching up with this and it's very hard to quickly sit down and put together a couple of questions as even apparently innocuous things are likely to be spoiler-related, so cleverly interwoven are the details of these books!

In the meantime, I'll definitely second AhoyMatey's question (@7) about the trifoil compass and how it works - that's a nice one!

I probably won't have time to think up all three questions I would like to ask before the new post from Jo later today (can't believe we've reached the end of D2...!) so here is one to be going on with:

Adding to ryanreich's question @8 about the unit of the Thaum (I detect the influence of Pratchett here), I'd like to expand that a little and ask Pat generally how he came up with the working concepts for magic in he 4C universe, especially that of Sympathy. I seem to recall that he did some time studying chemical engineering and I wondered how this influenced him in developing a system of magic that seems to obey the laws of thermodynamics! The supplementary part of this is to ask how he feels about some of the rather more tenuous forms of "magic" in other literary works and why he wanted something so much more "concrete" for the world of Kvothe.

I'll add others if I have time before the cut-off.

As an aside:
Jo, I've just finished Among Others - and loved it! I don't think I've ever been able to give direct feedback like this to an author before so I'd just like to say "thank you!!" :o)

I was reading the Kindle version on my iPad so wasn't really paying attention to how far through I was and therefore I confess to being a little bit disappointed when I realised that I was on the last chapter and that the story was coming to a climax and the end was near! I would have been very happy to read on - any chance we might be able to visit Mor again some day? An older Mor from around now would be interesting too but I think zi'd like to know more about young Mor first!

Mor wouldn't be too many years older than me and I remember many of the authors, books and series you refer to. I also remember just what the UK was like back then too...!
Alf Bishai
124. greyhood
Last question:

1) Could Iax have stolen the sun?
Dave DeLong
125. davedelong
Here is my question:

What are the lyrics to The Pontifex Always Ranks Under a Queen?
thistle pong
126. thistlepong
regarding the soundtrack question:

Fan made versions of Tinker Tanner (instrumental and with vocals) and Jackass, Jackass here:
Jo Walton
127. bluejo
OK, I have just organised these questions and sent them to Pat.
129. Longshot
After Kvothe loses his parents in NW he goes into the forest, lives off the land and plays his father's lute. He said when he ran out of familiar songs he started to play things like "Autumn Leaves Falling" (not actual quote, just something I came up with as a comparasin). While he is doing this is he literally playing the names of things?
David C
130. David_C
Way to late to the party:

What is Analin (the city)'s role in governance?

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