May 17 2012 2:00pm

Rothfuss Reread: Pat Answers the Admissions Questions

Rothfuss Reread: Pat Answers the Admissions Questions

Welcome to the last post of the Patrick Rothfuss re-read in which we’ve gone through all of The Wise Man’s Fear and The Name of the Wind with lots and lots of attention and speculation.

A couple of weeks ago I asked everyone to ask Pat questions without spoilers, and we asked a ridiculous number of questions and I split them into the different schools of the University and he has answered... lots and lots of them. And there are some really exciting answers — well, answers that I’m really excited about. Well done everyone who had a question picked!

The first part of this “admissions interview” is being posted on his blog, and the second part is here, below the cut. (I’m going to be on a train all day tomorrow, heading south to the Nebulas, so that link is just to his blog generally for now. When I have internet again and the interview is posted, I’ll edit and link directly to it.) [Update: The link now goes directly to part one of the interview.]

Abbreviations: NW = The Name of the Wind. WMF = The Wise Man’s Fear. DT = 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

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

Before we begin, I wanted to link to this picture, which I saw in Portland in January. It’s not exactly Kvothe, but it’s called “The Moon’s Four Strings” and it just seems amazingly relevant to this re-read and I wanted to share it with you.


First: Pat talks about spoilers

Hmmmm…. You see, the thing is, even a relatively innocuous question like this could be considered a spoiler to some people.

Let me give you an example. I’m going to assume you’re all solid geeks, and that you’ve already gone to see The Avengers.

(I’m going to talk about the movie, so consider this your spoiler alert.)

You know in the trailer for The Avengers where they show the Hulk catching Iron Man out of the air? That’s a spoiler.

Why? Here’s why.

There I am, watching the movie, and Tony Stark is flying off into space to jam a nuke up the ass of some aliens. Good times. High stakes. Big adventure. Then his HUD starts to get all crackly.

And they’ve already established Tony as being the selfish guy who’s ripe for a transformational moment, ready to become the self-sacrificing hero. He’s just called his girlfriend to say goodbye.

And I think, “Oh shit. This is Joss Whedon directing this. He’s at the helm. He wouldn’t…. Fuck. No. Of course he would. Joss would totally kill off Tony Stark….”

Except that moment of honest dread only lasts a microsecond because I’ve seen in the trailer that the Hulk grabs Iron Man out of the air and slides down the building.

So I know he’s not going to snuff it. I’m robbed of my dramatic tension.


So I’ll answer this question, and give away a little piece of advance knowledge to the folks that hunger for such things.

But here’s what we’re going to do. Let’s move this question WAAAAAY down to the end of the interview. We’ll have all the tiny potential spoilers tucked away safely down there. Because I know some of you are like me, and you like your stories pure.

Does that sound fair?



What are the three things that a trefoil compass tracks?

They track three different precise points (three specific set locations) located throughout the four corners. Using the orientation of the three needles (and some fairly tricky trigonometry) you can determine exactly where you are.

Is there a way of repairing a Ramston steel blade once it has been broken?

Well, you could. But it wouldn’t be a really good blade afterwards. No more than if you had a really high-quality knife in this world (Like a real katana or some Toledo steel) then broke it and repaired it.

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

It is. Because it’s, um, written down. With runes and such.


History (including linguistics)

You’ve mentioned that your worldbuilding extends to dead religions. What can you tell us about them?

Hmmm…. Not much.

For one, some of that stuff I might want to keep for future stories.

But more importantly, without any context any description I gave you would read like an essay. Sure I could explain some of the lost pagan rites from Vint. But without context and narrative, our ability to care about such things is dramatically reduced.

That’s why we need stories.

How can Auri know the way to Kvothe’s room? It’s never been mentioned that they ever talk about it.

1. Do you think that simply because I don’t mention something in the book it doesn’t happen? If that’s the case, then most of my characters really need to take a piss….

2. Why would Kvothe have to mention where he lives to Auri? Don’t you think she’s capable of finding things out for herself?

For how long was Elodin the Chancellor?

Not long. Less than two years.

What happened to Sovoy?

He lives on a farm out in the country now. He’s happy there. He has pleny of room to run and play.

What is your favorite item that Auri gives Kvothe?

The kiss.

Where and when did Tak originate?

There are two answers to this question.

1. Stevens Point, WI. 2010-present.

2. Modeg, more roughly 2000 years BCE.

Why was Caluptena burned?

Those guys were total dicks. They had it coming.

What are the lyrics to The Pontifex Always Ranks Under a Queen?

Heh. I really shouldn’t say. We’re in mixed company here. Children could read this.

What’s the significance of wearing rings on the right vs the left hand?

There are clues to this in the books themselves.

More I will not say.

Do the names Edema Ruh and Adem relate to the Hebrew “adamah” meaning “red” and “earth”?

“Believe me not; and yet I lie not; I confess nothing, yet I deny nothing.”

What does el’the literally mean?

That’s coming up in book three.

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)?

Ah hell. That’s a typo. A and B should be the same thing. They’re referring to a place.

I’ll have to fix that in the later editions of the book.

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)?

Good question.



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

I don’t know why this one is listed under “Medica” but yes, absolutely.

(Jo: It’s in Medica because it’s physical information. It might not be good logic, but it was my logic.)

Is there any significance to the fact that Simmon looks like Tempi, i.e. that Simmon looks like an Adem?

They don’t look that similar. Sim just has sandy hair. (A lot of folks do.) The Adem are fairer complected and, generally speaking, shorter than Sim.

Please explain the Adem concept of “anger.”

Please explain the concept of justice. Or wei-wu-wei. Or weltschmerz. Or toska.

Some concepts are complex and ephemeral, too difficult to pin precisely with words. When these concepts come from an alien culture, understanding them is exponentially more difficult.

Keep in mind that I’m not saying, “I won’t explain it.” What I’m saying here is that, “I have already explained it, and it is hard to grasp.”

If you were to translate it into English, what word would you use?

“Anger” is the English translation. “Vaevin” is the Ademic term.

What are the ages of the various Masters at the University?

They range from Mature, to Old, to Very Old. Except for Elodin. He’s Not-That-Old.

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?)

“In short, I deny nothing, but doubt everything.”

Have you read about the Trobriand Islanders, the matriarchal society whose diet serves as birth control for the population?


Did you deliberately choose recessive traits for the Adem people’s general appearance?

Yup. Because I’m awesome.



What is Kvothe’s recipe for metheglin?

Kvothe doesn’t make metheglin. I do.

What is a thaum?

It is a unit of energy. Like a BTU, a Calorie.

What are the properties of copper that make it suitable for Elodin’s cell and Taborlin’s blade?

Good question.

How does alchemy work?

It’s… complicated.

It involves the manipulation of an object’s inherent principles. You have to evoke them, then factor….

Ah. It’s really technical. And face it. You don’t know anything about alchemy.



When you’re writing 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?

The later. I’m more organic.

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.

I use my brain. Sometimes I write down some notes. On paper. Usually with a pen.

(Jo: Wow.)

Does the existence of a huge online community absolutely desperate to know where Caluptena is and how a trefoil compass works affect your writing?

It definitely adds a bit of pressure. And by “a bit” I mean a lot. A whole lot.

After you’ve finished the third book, what areas of this world are you interested in exploring?

I don’t see why I have to wait. I’m writing a few shorter pieces right now that explore some pieces of the world. Modeg, most notably.

Are you planning more books in this world?


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?

I’ve heard of Jones’ Guide, and wandered briefly through TV Tropes once or twice.

Your “if so” is troubling to me though. It implies that I’d only be bothered by those things after someone else pointed them out to me.

Just for the record, I’m perfectly capable of iconoclasm under my own power, thank you very much.

After the third book is released, is there any chance of opening up the translator forum?

Hmm….. I don’t know. I doubt it. It’s there to provide a safe haven to my translators as much as to protect my secrets. I don’t want to reveal their posts without their permission.

I might post up a few more of the more interesting discussions though… The blogs where I do that are pretty fun….

What was the trickiest bit of WMF to get right?

The beginning. I bet I spent an entire year trying to figure out how to make the opening section work properly.

Given that they seem to be giving you A Lot Of Pages per book, how worried should we 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?

Three books.

A musical sound track would be so awesome. Have any musicians approached you with the idea?

I wish. I’d love to do a CD of music people made about/for the book. That would be a ton of fun….



Please explain the currency system.

Which one? There’s five I can think of off the top of my head.

I’ll be doing a blog about this before too long. If all goes well, we might even have a widget that allows you to do conversions between the different currency systems.

Y’know, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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?

The Chancellor has a vote and a half. This was designed to prevent ties.

(Jo: GBrell, you were right!)

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?

What are you, some sort of communist?

I kid, I kid.

Seriously though. This isn’t Hogwarts. The University isn’t out scouring the land for magical orphans so it can give them magic cloaks and rooms full of money.

The question you should be asking is, “Why would the University want to go out of their way to let students in who aren’t rich?”

To put it frankly, what’s in it for them? Not much.

What’s the population (roughly) of the Four Corners?

The census numbers are woefully out of date, I’m afraid. Like, three hundred years out of date. Nobody has bothered trying to make a comprehensive count since the Aturan Empire collapsed.

You have three spades in your hand. And there have been five spades played. How many spades is that?

Eight spades?

I’m pretty sure it’s eight spades.



Can you tell us about any locations we haven’t seen yet which we’ll be visiting on D3?

I suppose it doesn’t hurt to say that Kvothe will be visiting Renere, the three part city.

(Jo: I am so excited. He’s going to Renere! And it’s on the map! And there’s a king there!)

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?

It was night again. I was answering a question, and it was a question of four parts.

Let’s break it up.

1. It was a religious schism in the Tehlin church. Kinda like Arian Christianity back in the day.

2. Very nice. Good catch.

3. Yeah. I don’t know how the hell you figured that out, but yeah. He totally is. Bonus points to you.

4. Hmmmm…..

How does Lorren know about Arliden?

Arliden had a productive career as a songwriter, not to mention that he had a fairly high profile gig as the lead trouper in Greyfallow’s Men.

As such, we wrote a lot of songs, many of which were recorded and attributed to him. But there are a lot of songs in the archives that have been collected and aren’t attributed to anyone. Lorren was going to ask Kvothe for his assistance catalouging these before Kvothe had his hissy-fit at the end of Chapter 36.

There. That’s a little secret nobody knew before. See? I’m not total a-hole about keeping things to myself.


Jo: I’d like to thank Pat for being so awesome and answering so many questions, and I’d like to thank all of you for asking such good questions.

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.

Gary Singer
1. AhoyMatey
Thanks Jo (and Pat!), that was awesome!

Still not sure why a trefoil compass needs trig, but hey, it seems (to me) the points on the four corners of the worlds are fixed.
Steven Halter
3. stevenhalter
Cool, we got the Trifoil compass right.
Steven Halter
4. stevenhalter
Cooler, the shape of the world must be important as he answered cleverly.
Steven Halter
5. stevenhalter
Coolest, this has been a wonderful re-read. Thanks, Jo and Pat.
Katy Maziarz
6. ArtfulMagpie
Some of the non-answers are exceptionally maddening because it means that we're on the right track as to the importance of certain it D3 yet?!

(Thanks, Jo and Pat!)
7. Aerlevsedi
So the trifoil compass. Could the three big bright yellow dots on the map be the points the compass points to?
9. Moxie
Three part city.

Silence of three parts.

Steven Halter
10. stevenhalter
Aerlevsedi:On Pat's site, if you click the big yellow dots you get some more info.
The compass points could be loacted there, but it would be a lot easier if the points were located more on the periphery of the map and/or if there was more separation between them.
11. wcarter4
"I’ve heard of Jones’ Guide, and wandered briefly through TV Tropes once or twice."

Wandered briefly..through TV Tropes...once or twice!? Lies! Blatant lies every one knows TV tropes will ruin your life. On a side note Thanks Pat for answering some of our questions...
Andrew Mason
12. AnotherAndrew
I'm guesing the trigonometry is needed because the world is curved in some way - not necessarily spherically.

Aerlevsedi: The dots are links to further information - and one of them is a link to further information on the tinker, who isn't a fixed point.

So: I was apparently barking up the wrong tree with Simmon and Tempi (though he's wrong in saying it's just the sandy hair they have in common - their build is mentioned as well). Which means that my theory that the Kvothe gang represents all peoples is wrong too. (Though I suppose it may still represent all peoples of the Four Corners, if the Adem - who clearly have a different concept of civilisation - aren't counted as part of the Four Corners.)

As for my location question, well, I wasn't expecting him to mention either of the two locations I had in mind, Tinue and the Tahlenwald, but what he does have to say is interesting. Renere isn't too surprising, given the way in which our attention keeps being drawn to the Vintish royal family, but yes, what does 'three-part city' signify?
Skip Ives
13. Skip
@3, 4, 7, 10 and 12 - Given his description of the compass, it sounds more like an astrolabe. I would note that the "fixed" points do not have to be stationary, just that their periodic positioning is fixed.

Prior to GPS offshore navigation was done with a sextant and a good watch. Knowing where the sun, moon and stars are at a given point in time will tell you your location very accurately. Because of magic, one would not have to actually see the points the needles point to, but given that it is used by cartographers and sea captains, and require detailed maps and triangulation, the points may be astral and not terrestrial.

Trigonometry is literally "Measuring triangles" so I'm guessing he is just referring to the triangulation necessary.
Emmet O'Brien
14. EmmetAOBrien
AnotherAndrew@12:what does 'three-part city' signify?

At risk of being clankingly literal, that there was a two-part city in book 2 and a number of one-part cities in book 1 ?
Steven Halter
15. stevenhalter
A "coco" bean is a legume that is excellent for making cassoulet but not so much for chocolate. ;-)
17. ryan7273
@4 possibly not. he answered cleverly but didn't talk about what a good question it was. still, he did answer....

either way, we can make some decent guesses from his other answers about the trefoil compass. 3 points are only sufficient to accurately find a position on a flat surface. either the trefoil compass is never used outside of the 4C or the world is not a cylindar, sphere, etc. it could be that the world is a sphere and sufficiently large to allow for 3 points to be effective, but in that case i wouldn't expect a trefoil compass small enough to stick in your pocket to have enough resolution to be terribly effective. so my vote is for either relatively flat OR only a small portion of an otherwise large world
Lauren W
18. laurene135
Great, I totally forget what we were told about Renere! Very interesting that it's called the three part city.

Super excited to hear that he'll be doing a blog post explaining the currency and about the map!
Steven Halter
19. stevenhalter
@17:My vote is for relatively flat given various other hints. Even so, I would guess that the compass is only useful around the 4C.
Lauren W
20. laurene135
Oh, so quick question. Do we know approx when D3 might be released? Obviously things changes, and if Pat feels the need to take longer than pervious thought I say give two thumbs up, but do we have a current estimate?
Julia Mason
21. DrFood

Jo, thanks again for this place that created a community, if only a short lived community. It's been terrific.

Pat, you are awesome like that!

Thistlepong--you were right!

Everyone--thanks so much for all your contributions. I couldn't always comment, but I always tried to keep up with the discussions. It's been a great way to enhance the time waiting for Day 3.
David Goldfarb
23. David_Goldfarb
wcarter4@11: There are some people who are more or less immune to the time-sink effect of TVTropes. I know: I'm one. When I go to TVTropes, I'll click on a link or two, spend ten or fifteen minutes, then stop.
24. JonathanWhite
What happened to "rhin" in the linguistics section? I mean, he probably wouldn't have answered, but it was worth a shot. You can see mine and others' arguments about it here:
Mostly comments 70-74, but some more earlier on, too.
I find linguistics some of the most interesting stuff in the books.
25. Sarmis
I'm still thinking about that trefoil compass. As mentioned, three points is what you need for an accurate positioning on a flat surface, while two will limit you to two possible locations (or a direct line between the two, assuming moving off the line to establish triangulation is impractical). It seems clear that if you had a flat world, a trefoil compass would be perfect for precise navigation/cartography.

However, it's the "and some fairly tricky trigonometry" which makes me wonder. Given three points on a sphere, and a direction along the surface of that sphere to that point (It seems trivial to note that a needle held in a plane orthagonal to a sphere, which attempts to point to a spot on the sphere, would show the shortest direct line across the sphere), is that sufficent to properly place you on a sphere?

If you were on the other side of a sphere from a point, the needle would do something akin to spinning - which would give you an exact location. Any two lines on a sphere will intersect at precisely two spots on a sphere - meaning that with a two-foil compass, you would be limited to exactly two spots on the sphere or the line between the two compass-points. This just happens to be the exact same degree of accuracy you would obtain with two points in a flat world. Adding a third point accomplishes the same thing as you would on a flat world.

In short: The existence of a trefoil compass does not in any way depend on the world being flat or spherical. Clever clever rothfuss.
26. ryan7273
@25 for 3d space, the direction to any 3 points will give you a line. if you have direction and distance then you still have 2 points which you could be at: 1 above the plane formed by the 3 points and 1 below the plane.
Steven Halter
27. stevenhalter
Sarmis@25:Yes, it is clever. As ryan@26 points out you could be above or below although if you don't roughly lnow what hemisphere you are in then you probably have some fairly big problems.
28. Spirit Theif
Guys! Guys! Pat Rothfuss answered our questions! And it was awesome! And funny and clever and wonderful! Thanks so much to Jo for organizing this and for all the wonderful people who contributed.
And an enormous thanks to the magnificent Patrick Rothfuss.
Steven Halter
29. stevenhalter
My guess on the other kind of magic that we have "seen glimpses of" but no name for (telling) is the Yllish braiding in D's hair and the Lackless box.
30. Halcyal
Hmm. I wonder; would the as yet unmentioned 6th (8th? nth?) type of magic (of which we've apparently already seen glimpses) be related to Denna's Yillish knot tying and writing-down-things-to-make-them-so (which, really, sounds like it would be conceptually resonant with the idea of shaping to me, but who knows). Seems like a likely candidate, in any case, although I suppose that the Chandarain curses/effects could be one as well.
31. Sarmis
@ 26 & 27: Given a sphere, you draw three lines going away from you. These lines will have two points of intersection - the point you are at, and the point antipodal to you. If all you had to go on was the three lines, you would not know which hemisphere you were in.

However, we have direction. This means we know on which half of each of these three lines the three fixed points are. Using this, we can easily establish which hemisphere we are in.
32. Halcyal
@ 29. shalter

Gah. Just beat me to it.
Katy Maziarz
33. ArtfulMagpie
The "whisper of a mention" magic could also be related to the "knack" concept somehow...
34. ryan7273
speaking of big problems, the matter of scale still bothers me. if the world of the 4C is the same size/shape as ours then a trefoil compass that worked for the entire surface would give you an area of 90 square kilometers or greater assuming a granularity similar to our handheld compasses. not exactly precision navigating (-:

i'm still betting that it either only works in 1 part of the world or the world is much smaller
35. ryan7273
@33 Does anyone have the complete list of magics that he's named so far? Pat says he's given the names for 7 and shows us hints of an eighth as-yet unnamed one.

On the blog, Lukalock assembled the following list of 6:
Alchemy Sympathy Naming Sygaldry Glamourie Grammarie

He couldn't remember the 7th and I confess that I can't think of it either. Could it be Knack or does someone remember another?
Steven Halter
36. stevenhalter
A description of the "lost pagan rites from Vint" sounds pretty interesting to me.
37. wcarter4
@23. David_Goldfarb Oh I know it's not really the time suck for everyone it's sometimes made out to be, my post was more or less a vestigial run-on joke from my time in the comment boards for the WoT reread.
Andrew Mason
38. AnotherAndrew
@33 Does anyone have the complete list of magics that he's named so far?
Pat says he's given the names for 7 and shows us hints of an eighth
as-yet unnamed one.

No, he says that he has shown seven - including the one that's just had a whisper of a mention - and there is one that we haven't seen yet. He doesn't say that the seventh (merely hinted) one has been named.
39. JonathanWhite
@35 Given the names for seven magics? What about Shaping? I don't see that on the list. or is that the same as grammarie?
Steven Halter
40. stevenhalter
Elodin having been Chancellor for "less than two years" probably implies that the Rookery Event took place some time from -4 to -3.
41. Sarmis
@ 34 Our compasses are relatively granular - the magnetic north pole isn't incredibly precise. Given a watch (an inch diameter would give us a circ. of ~3 inches), it is easy to establish what second it is. This means we can distinguish at least 20 degrees out of every inch. Lets assume that we want to know where we are to ~ 7 miles of certainty. Using lattitude and longitude (~69 miles between degrees of latitude) as quick and dirty measurement, that means with 360 degrees, we would get 70 miles. This means that a trefoil compass would need to be 5.7" in diameter to do this.

In order to get to 7 miles of certainty, we'd need to be able to get one order of magnitude closer - 3600 degrees. This means we would need a compass of just under 5 feet in diameter.

So, the question would become - what is the function of a trefoil compass? Merchants on land don't need GPS - they can establish where they are pretty simply with a good map and eyes. (And without a good map, who cares how accurate your trefoil compass is). Given navigation at sea, I think it would be well worth it for a captain to have a 5 foot diameter compass that gave him his location to within 7 miles, assuming a seafaring culture that went out of sight of land.

However - note that this is assuming we want a trefoil compass for navigation that works *anywhere*. The principles are very simple - you can pick any three points (say, in a country) and have a compass that gives you a very precise location in that country. Obviously, when you are 2000 miles away it would be hard to distinguish where you are when the needles are pretty much right next to eachother, but for navication inside of that area it would be unparalleled. And the great thing about such a compass is that it would work in any area it was built for, to the same degree of accuracy as any map (map projections are tricky tricky things in spherical worlds).
42. Sarmis
I think I just neglected the most important function of a trefoil compass - in mapmaking. Your maps would be perfectly built for navigating with a trefoil compass of the same set of points - because they would, of course, be drawn by someone using that trefoil compass. You could even have notations on your maps (243, 16, 180) which gives the exact trefoil readings for certain points.
Nathan Love
43. n8love
Laughing and clapping at my PC and crying "He answered it!" doesn't make me feel like an idiot as much as you'd think.

Amazing work, everyone (especially Jo)! Ramston steel, mentions of Auri, the Caluptena response, Greyfallow, and stories in Modeg had me pondering, chuckling, and anxious by turns. This is my one time... Is it D3 yet? Okay, that felt good.

Oh, yeah. Both questions answered (well, kinda) Brag.
Andrew Mason
44. AnotherAndrew
Jonathan White@39: I'm not sure that shaping is actually a magic
distinct from naming. What Felurian says is that the first namers used
their power simply to know, and then came people who used it to shape - a difference in intention, I think, rather than in kind of magic. (The word 'Shaping', as name of an art, does not occur. The word 'shaper' is not capitalised, and neither is 'namer' except when it occurs as part of 'Master Namer'.)
Beth Meacham
45. bam
Wouldn't grammarie be written-down magic? Written spells, like Denna was asking about, or a gram? Or Yllish knots in your hair? It's a pretty common form of "magic" in our own world.
46. melearlin
So if the Adem live in Ademre, and we've speculated the Amyr lived in Imre (Amyr-re), who are the Ren/Rener/something that live in Renere?
George Brell
47. gbrell

Per Felurian, grammarie is "the art of making things be." She practices grammarie in making his shadow cloak. Bast uses it on the holly boughs at the beginning of WMF to keep them fresh.

This is distinct from "glamourie," "the art of making things seem."
George Brell
48. gbrell
Mildly proud about getting a question picked.

Jo, if you could pass along enormous thanks to Pat for both writing such delicious books and taking time to write answers to our questions, I'd appreciate it.

For those who don't read his blog, his Mother's Day post is wonderful.
Jeremy Raiz
49. Jezdynamite
I think the other form of magic (which I think we only think we saw once) is when K made that bottle of wine shatter from a distance without making any physical contact with the bottle. Unless he subconsciously calls the name of the liquid or air inside the bottle.....or he releases his "bottled up" anger (The episode takes place towards the start of NotW, when K reacts to the Chronicler making assumptions about Denna, when she is first mentioned).

I would have thought Pat would have mentioned knacks specifically as a type of magic, but he doesn't, which I find unusual. It is mentioned enough times in the books (like the story knots), which seem more like shouting than a whisper.

No time to comment more now, I'll read more later. Thanks again Jo and Pat.
50. Vorbis
Man, really regretting having actual knowledge that the Chancellor gets the tie-breaker vote. With Hemme there, it's going to be a tipping point to something that ends badly.
Jo Walton
51. bluejo
When I saw the trefoil compass answer, I just knew you'd be all over it.

Personally, I am very excited about Renere.

52. Mar
Good luck this weekend, Jo!
53. Cambria
I wonder if Kvothe shattering the bottle of wine from a distance is part of the knack he has for unraveling/opening things.
George Brell
54. gbrell

I've always assumed it was reflexive sympathy brought about by the strong emotions associated with Denna. Breaking a bottle is moderately similar to other examples he gives of sympathetic dueling (melting a hole in ice, tearing a playing card in half) and it plays into the idea of him forgetting that he's supposed to be broken.
thistle pong
55. thistlepong
As usual, I totally agree with gbrell. Rag to bottle is a terrible link, but it's Kvothe.

I'm pleased he addressed all my questions and extremely pleased he confirmed Cealds were black. Imagine Franklin dancing with Snoopy. Totally worth not knowing where Caluptena was.

For ease of use, the magics are:
1. Alchemy.
2. Sympathy.
3. Naming.
4. Sygaldry.
5. Glamourie.
6. Grammarie.
7. I just remembered one more that gets a whisper of a mention.
8. And there’s an eighth you haven’t seen yet.

ETA: Merciful Tehlu! Per a comment on his blog, it's up to ten.
I just re-counted, so far there’s been:
Six magics named in the books.
Eight magics mentioned in the books.
And at least 10 magics in the world.
That I can think of right now, depending on how you count them.
So, knacks and knots have been mentioned. We might have missed one. And there's definitely one we've yet to see.

His answer about the difference between naming and shaping only reinforces my existing prejudices. In other words, I still think it's only a matter of what one does with names.

shalter, did you notice that he all but confirmed your usage for lhin?

And RobM totally did the timeline a service.
-2000 Tak originated in Modeg

It's been a pleasure.
Hero Canton
56. HeroineOfCanton
That was so fantastic! Thank you, Jo, for setting this up and doing this wonderful reread in the first place.

But what the f%$#@ are we supposed to do until D3?
57. grapnel33
Regarding the number of magics in the world...

What about the singers of the Tahl? In chapter 38 of WMF when Kvothe is having a bull session with Wil and Sim wherein they discuss where each of them would go if they could go anywhere. Sim doesn't know, Wil would go to Faerie and Kvothe would visit the Tahlenwald. Kvothe says “I heard a story once that said the leaders of their tribes aren’t great warriors, they’re singers. Their songs can heal the sick and make the trees dance.”
Hespe's story about the boy who stole the moon refers to him going to ask the "witch women of the Tahl."
Penthe mentions going to the Tahl if she ever needed to be cured of an STD, though no indication of whether she believes their healing to be magical or simply expert medical knowledge.

On a related note, singers need not be Tehlu & his angels. Even if they aren't nosy bards they might be weird foreign healers.
Steven Halter
58. stevenhalter
thistlepong@55:I'll update the word list with the new lhin usage (and it does look like OK) whenever they get the forum working consistently.
John Graham
59. JohnPoint
Woo hoo! Stoked about the questions, stoked about the answers (and very happy that both of my questions got answered, and one provoked him to reassess how many magics are present/mentioned in the books.)

My other question (about Ramston steel knives) was designed to provoke commentary about whether it's possible to repair an Alar once broken. Although I'm hoping that in frame K is just playing a really long version of splitting his mind into multiple pieces and hiding certain parts from himself, I'm betting that his Alar is actually broken (given that it's compared to a bar of Ramston steel, and the parallels with his knife in the Eld). And if so, I think Pat's comment implies that Kvothe won't be getting his Alar back to what it was...
Steven Halter
60. stevenhalter
Pat added this to the comment section on his blog post:
I just re-counted, so far there’s been:
Six magics named in the books.
Eight magics mentioned in the books.
And at least 10 magics in the world.
That I can think of right now, depending on how you count them.
thistle pong
61. thistlepong
grapnel, thanks for reminding us about the Tahl. That'd be the whisper we heard. I'm pretty comfortable that we can identify nine magics and expect an entirely new one.

ETA: Renere appears to be at a river fork on the colored map. The simplest three part explanation is that it spans the fork. More complex explanations are of course more fun.

And what the heck, anyone reckon Kvothe could become a new Chandrian just by chasing after - ie following - Haliax?
Claire de Trafford
62. Booksnhorses
He is such a tease! Sounds like DT isn't going to let us down hurrah! Thank you so much Jo, and Pat.
63. JonathanWhite
@44 and 55, I'm betting that if there really are at least 10 magics in the world, Shaping is considered distinct from Naming. Thoughts?
64. fina
Okay then..... maybe my question irritated Pat. I felt like I've been slapped.
But thanks to Pat anyway for answering it.
And thanks to Jo for taking the time and lots of efforts to organized this.
Justin Levitt
65. TyranAmiros
Jo: Thank you immensely for organizing this, not to mention the whole re-read!

I think Pat was reading a bit much into my question--I'm really just interested in what inspired the series. I know a lot of authors--particularly in SFF--use tropes as something to bounce things off of, such as how Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series came out of playing with the trope.

@63: I can't help but think Shaping and Naming are two sides of the same magic, sort of the good and evil uses for the same thing.
Marius Gedminas
66. mgedmin
Minor note: the links in "I might post up a few more of the more interesting discussions though… The blogs where I do that are pretty fun…." are broken. I've tried to fix them in this comment form.
Stephane Dauzat
67. Zolt
All I have to say is thank you Pat, thank you... for utterly destroying all my theories about Lorren. Damn. That was both awesome and sad.

The bit on magic make sense. Shaping almost certainly goes together with Naming as has been mentioned many times.

The 2 that get a mention have two be
- What Denna does with her hair (Shampoo brands should hire her for their TV spots)
- The Singing they do in the Tahl.

As for the two forms of magic we don't know about... Well, we don't know, right? I would venture that one of them might be whatever is keeping Haliax and the Chandrian alive, but I'm probably wrong.
Andrew Mason
68. AnotherAndrew
He did too say that that sympathy was invented at the University. Well, Elodin did. but I see no reason for him to lie about it.

The reference to Arianism interested me, because I'd earlier suggested that Skarpi's story was in a way Arian - at least if you try to fit it together with Trapis's story, rather than dismissing Trapis's story as completely apocryphal. It makes Tehlu a pre-existing being, in some sense divine, but distinct from the true God. So perhaps Skarpi is a Mender?

I'm now wondering if grammarie (making things be) may be shaping, or part of what the shapers did. Since Rothfuss says some of the magics are much the same, though others are very different, it might be similar in essence to naming and yet still deserve a place on the list. (It occurred to me after my last comment that of course 'shapers' wouldn't be capitalised, because the only person who says it is Felurian, and she never capitalises anything. Still, Kvothe frequently writes about namers, and does not capitalise the term. I think we often have a Tendency to Capitalise things which are not Capitalised in the Books - possibly Inherited from Denna.)

The half-vote thing is interesting, because it wouldn't be needed if there was regularly an odd number of Masters. This does give new credibility to the thought that the position of Master Namer is new, or recently revived.

Oh, and Emmett@14: yes, one can easily imagine it being a three part city in the same way the Severen is a two-part city- on a river fork, as thistlepong suggests, or perhaps two hills and the lower space between them, or whatever. What I was wondering is why this is thought worthy of mention.
Steven Halter
69. stevenhalter
AnotherAndrew@68:It could just be how people refer to it. For example, here in Minnesota we have the Twin Cities (Minneapolis & St. Paul) that came about because of the Mississippi river seperating them and then grew together.
So, a three part city that grew on different parts of the river fork seems pretty reasonable and something that would grow into a name.
70. Thurule
So, in the question about the moon before the Creation War, Pat simply referred us to Chapter 102, which I just reread - this is the chapter with Felurian explaining the stealing of the moon to Kvothe (chapter 100 in re-read counting). There's something in there that hit me with a sledge hammer that I don't recall hearing before, and I couldn't find mentioned by Jo or any commentors in that section. Felurian tells Kvothe about fae walking in the mortal world:

“most fae are sly and subtle folk who step as soft as chimney smoke. some go among your kind enshaedn, glamoured as a pack mule laden, or wearing gowns to fit a queen.”

Um. "glamoured as a pack mule laden?" Holy crap. All the Tinkers are fae creatures wandering the mortal world. I suppose that explains a little bit about why they always seem to know the things you're going to need.
Steven Halter
71. stevenhalter
Thurule@70:Someone else JohnPoint noticed that somewhere along the way. It is an intriguing line (not sure how we glossed over it the first time).
Now, this doesn't necessarily mean that all of the tinkers (mules) we see are Fae--it could be a disguise for a number of groups.
Also, it could be a metaphor. The Fae are laden with glamours, not actually appearing as mules.
I would guess that some percentage of the tinkers/mules are Fae and working for some purpose.
72. ryan7273
Totally agree with @68. I've always thought that grammarie was the term for shaping or at least a facet of it. "The art of making things be" says to me "the art of creating things using magic."

@70 I like that theory for Tinkers. I'm not sure I believe that EVERY tinker is faen, but surely the ones who have traded with Kvothe have fore-knowledge of things and this could explain that.
73. Tangent
God's teeth, wish I'd taken the time to do a google search on this topic before now! Thanks for the loop in Pat. (Just realized I should clarify. I am NOT being smug about your timing on this! Thank you sincerely.)
John Graham
74. JohnPoint
Thurule @70:

Yeah, I pointed that out in comment #45 to part 27, and we discussed it briefly in the comments.

Here's the link to my comments:

It definitely seems to imply that tinkers have something to do with the Fae...

EDIT to add: The rest of the passage also seems to tell us a lot about the how the Fae interact with Mortals, and that the various folktales about fairies, demons, etc. have some validity (for example the part about"iron, fire, mirror-glass. elm and ash and copper knives"). I think that passage is worth a whole lot to us.
75. Baudbard
@68 I don't believe the position of master namer to be new, but it could be that in recent times the seat has been left empty.
Rob Munnelly
76. RobMRobM
Yeah! I got at least one question answered, if through the back door.

Hmm. Tak - 2000 years ago in Modeg. I have to confess I was hoping for Fae is close to Fae geographically and.....Modeg is a really old culture, the extent of which has not yet been explained in text and....

I'm out of ideas. Anyone else have some?

77. Thurule
@74 JohnPoint @71 shalter

Thanks for the link. Not surprised I wasn't the first one to catch it. Going over all of that again actually made me consider something else. There was a lot of Cthaeh talk going on there too. It all put in my head the seed that perhaps the tinkers are "working for" the Cthaeh. Since the CTH knows all futures, but is trapped, perhaps it uses its influence over other fae to send them to the mortal world and exert its influence to get the ending it perfers. How else would the tinkers know what you will need?
Skip Ives
78. Skip
41. Sarmis and others on the Trifoil Compass:

From WMF Ch. 9:
Orienting by trifoil required detailed maps and painstaking triangulation. It was usually only practiced by sea captains and cartographers ... I'd only laid eyes on a trifoil compass twice in my life.
So it is not a commonly used instrument, and is used only by people that need to be exact. Also, please note that this is a trifoil compass and not a trefoil compass. I don't know if that makes any difference as trefoil can be used to describe pretty much anything with three "leaves", such as the GSA or Adidas logo. Trifoil isn't a word, but is likely also referring to something with three "foils". It still sounds like an astrolabe to me.

79. Chipmaker
Severen is a two-part city, and featured in part 2, WMF.

Renere is a three-part city, and will feature (somehow) in part 3, D3.

Hm, what would satisfy this theory from part 1, NotW? Tarbean clearly was a two-part city. University town?

Is PR slipping in a very subtle (and probably plot-irrelevant) joke here?

I don't have anywhere else to go with this; just a passing thought.
George Brell
80. gbrell

The idea that the Cthaeh and the Tinkers might be related was something I brought up a couple months ago.

Original post:

It didn't start a ton of conversation, but I'd love to discuss the idea further.
81. Sarmis
@78 : Heh. That means that my summation of a trifoil compass was pretty accurate - the only real uses would be for navigation at sea (the only place where the degree of accuracy is useful, and that you'd have room/motivation for a larger compass that could be even more accurate), and for cartographers.

While it may appear somewhat similar to an astrolabe, in function the two have almost nothing in common (a trifoil compass would be closer to, say, a watch then an astrolabe).
82. TheFrog
@78, @81: We wouldn't know much about cartographers in the 4Cs with the quality of the map we have. Hopefully PR will put together that post he has been promising, and then just maybe we will get a good map AFTER D3 has been published.
83. Nickp
I came to the re-read late and am not sure if this has been discussed before, but...

In Jo's original spoiler post, she speculated that Ambrose is the King that Kvothe kills. Has anyone speculated on the possibility that Ambrose is actually the Penitent King? I can't recall what we know about the Penitent King, but if he is king of Vintas it would be nicely ironic if Kvothe, by killing the previous king, put Ambrose on the throne.
George Brell
84. gbrell

I think the idea has been considered, but one piece of evidence that would need to be reconciled is that the (ex-)soldiers who attack K in the inn are wearing the colors of the Maer (white and blue).
Jeremy Raiz
85. Jezdynamite
@83 and @84
I couldn't imagine Kvothe hiding away in his inn if Ambrose were king and had placed a price on Kvothe's head. It's not proof, but I can't see Kvothe hiding away, while his main antagonist sits on a throne.

Can someone please tell me if it was the Penitent king that put a price on Kvothe's head? Is/Was there a price on his head before he faked his own death?
86. TWA
I assumed that Trifoil compasses pointed to nearby rare mineral deposits, and that was why you needed detialed charts. You had to know where the nearest gold, platinum, and cobalt deposits were. If the three points were the same everywhere then the maps wouldn't have to be so detailed, and in fact extra detail would be pointless, because the compass wouldn't be that accurate.
87. robocarp
If he ends up putting a widget up to convert between currency, I hope there's a checkbox for "Cealdish moneylender is honest" :)
88. nae77blis77

I see how you come to this conclusion. however i feel I must point out how repeatedly, from Kvothe's escape from Tarbean, we've been shown the best and smartest way to endure a noble's wrath is to just grin and bear it, weather the storm as it were.

Kvothe the Arcane, young, dumb, pre-Regicidal Kvothe would indeed not sit idly by whilst Ambrose ruled (especially as {in my pet theory} Kvothe is closer in line to the throne)

However, may not the older (seeming) wiser, Reshi-Kvothe have fixed this glaring oversight? especially if it in anyway contributed to his fall or betrayal??
89. Jack V
"The half-vote thing is interesting, because it wouldn't be needed if
there was regularly an odd number of Masters. This does give new
credibility to the thought that the position of Master Namer is new, or
recently revived."

The ad-hocness of Master Namer sounds plausible (or else, who did that before Elodin? Did one of the other masters teach it in a more straightforward way??)

But I didn't see anything particularly unusual in the half-vote that needed explaining. Lots of council systems have a chancellor voting as tiebreaker, and even if they don't call it a half-vote, that's what it is to a geek. I just assumed that's how the council worked (although I wasn't sure if the chancellor had 1/2 or 1 1/2 -- I assumed the latter, even though the former is possibly more common in real life, usually phrased as 'the chairman doesn't vote except when there's a tie'). After all, we only see the masters at admissions when they all come, but giving the chancellor a tie-breaker would be very useful if (a) they ever meet in less than a full number, which seems very likely for day-to-day business or (b) there were a three or more way vote, which isn't usual in real life, but I can easily imagine the masters doing that.
Lenny Bailes
90. lennyb
Denna's Yllish hair braiding might fall into either the Glamourie or Grammarie categories of magic. (Or not, if Grammarie subsumes only the Yllish script.)

In re Ambrose as the Penitent King -- this notion occurred to me early in reading TWMF, that Ambrose will assassinate the Maer and subsequently come to regret it. But I threw the idea out -- because Pat's already established Ambrose as an invariably obnoxious creep. I think it would break the larger mold of character poetics to have Ambrose suddenly develop a conscience. The Maer as Penitent King is a more believable proposition, to me, in terms of the larger poetic framework. (I'd suggest the idea that the Maer will assist Kvothe in assassinating Ambrose -- and later regret it -- but this also seems wrong to me. The character poetics I'm positing would seem to dictate that we're not done with Ambrose that early in the event sequence -- that there must be some confrontation between Ambrose and Kvothe that will take place *after* the ascension of the Penitent King. Maybe the Maer is going to abet Kvothe in killing the existing King, and then feel sorry about it after he ascends.) It does seem like there's a lot of energy stored up in the story, to date, for Kvothe to eventually be killing Ambrose -- king or not.

I'm still going with the notion that Denna's alternate take on the roles of the Chandrian is going to be of significance in D3. Since Pat hasn't introduced any suggestion of reincarnation being operant in the Four Corners (that I'm aware of), I've also thrown out the possibility that Denna is an avatar of Lyra. Also, I don't think Pat would have misled us about Denna being a young teenager when Kvothe first meets her in the Caravan. Deceiving us about that would seem to me to go against the larger framework of character poetics that, again, I perceive as an important quality of Pat's writing. (Early in this thread, I made fun of the notion of Denna as some kind of time-travelling Severian figure -- who eventually becomes Lyra or has already been her.)

But it seems to me that Denna is going to turn out to have some kind of interesting lineage that we're not yet aware of.
Jeremy Raiz
92. Jezdynamite
Wow, congratulations from me too.
Winning the Nebula award for best novel is absolutely phenomenal!
93. Fourwinds
I've really enjoyed this re-read, though I haven't posted until now - just happened upon a quote about Renere that I thought was relevant in light of the new information from Pat. When Kvothe returns from Adem to make his report to the Maer, he does so while wearing his new sword, which is not proper.

I'll slightly re-arragne the quote by the Maer, into "No matter what the custom in Renere, in my city, my house, and my garden, you will not come before me armed. Besides, it is a barbarian custom, and one that will bring the king to grief in time".

Sounded like forshadowing to me!

Thank you all for the stimulating discussions, especially Jo, and congratulations on winning the Nebula!
94. Nickp
"The ad-hocness of Master Namer sounds plausible (or else, who did that before Elodin? Did one of the other masters teach it in a more
straightforward way??)"

Or the Master Namer is, more often than not, cracked and unavailable for votes.
Beth Meacham
95. bam
I had a sudden idea -- what if the King that Kvothe kills is himself? We believe that he's high up in the line of succession, if he's ever recognized as Natalia Lackless's son. We know that he has faked his own death. We have Pat's non-answer about how inheritance runs in Vintas.

And we know that the stories about him, which he mentions with such relish, are greatly exaggerated.
96. Frank Olynyk
Congratulations on winning the Nebula for Novel, Jo. Enjoy the train ride back home. And keep that lovely piece of crystal out of the sunlight!

I think people should keep this reread blog in mind for next year's Hugo nominations, for Best Related Work.


97. The_Doc
Hi, I have been reading all these reread posts and I have read many comments; but not all of them.
So, I have a wild theory too and I don't know if it has been already told here.
So, from comments by some people it seems that Chadrians kill with physical objects like swords instead of using magic. And that they are not seen killing people personally. So, maybe, they kill by proxy. Using people, possessing people.
So, maybe, it was Dena who killed everybody at the wedding massacre and she remembers nothing. That was the reason why she was there and survived.
And, maybe, it was Kwothe who killed his parents and all the rest. And that was the reason he survived the attack too.
98. lepidoctora
... I was reading the post where Bast tries to open Kvothe's box and can't. I think you can open the iron lock with a lodestone. Lid, no hinge, protected against sympathy and naming through other means but nonetheless galvanically susceptible.
99. Pat_Pat
I like that idea. Now that you mention it, lodenstones are mentioned FAR too often to be purely coincidental.
100. Curtiss
What does anyone think about the sword Folly actually being Cinder's sword? It's described when Chronicler first sees it in NotW as grey and sleek or something like that. Cinder's sword is described as pale and elegant. Personally I like the idea of Kvothe being able to exact revenge on at least Cinder.
Steven Halter
101. stevenhalter
Congratulations over here Jo! Well done. ::applause::
Steven Halter
102. stevenhalter
Frank Olynyk@96:I think that's a very good suggestion.
103. Fernandofp
Maybe I'm overthinking the "three-part city" thing, but as we know, Renere is the king's home, and all over the book we've told about the conflicts for the throne, with some heirs mysterious dying. What if the three-part are actually three groups that are fight for the power of Vintas?

Thanks Jo for this reread! This has been awesome!
Jo Walton
104. bluejo
The Doc@97 -- that is a truly chilling and perfectly possible explanation. Except he sees them. But that doesn't necessarily mean he didn't do it as their hand. It would make Cinder really cruel in what he says. But it's really cruel anyway. I think this is a fascinating thought. Indeed it makes me sorry I'm done with this and can't put this up into next week's post to get it more attention.

And you know, he might have killed a king in front of people but not on purpose.
105. Chipmaker
Renere as a three-part city -- while there's probably a direct, physical aspect to that, like surrounding a river fork, there's probably more to it. Pat has detailed Severen and Tarbean, two-part cities, as being culturally and economically divided as well. That or something similar perhaps will apply to Renere. And navigating three cultural blocs can be much more intricate than going between two.
106. bitshifter
@41,83 A Vernier scale could increase your resolvable degrees by at least an order of magnitude
107. ryan7273
@106 I hadn't come across Vernier scales before. Good stuff. Thanks.
Gary Singer
108. AhoyMatey
I'm bummed it's Thursday and we're not going to get any more rereads...
109. Quantum7
A quick bit of pedantry: Trobriand Islanders are matrilineal (meaning inheritance passes from mother to child) rather than matriarchal (meaning women dominate culture and politics). No unambiguously matriarchal societies are known.
110. Silkki
I just noticed finnish translation of NotW at my library. I picked it up and read few pages and couldn't help but notice something. I don't have english version of the book here so forgive any mistakes made.

Lady Lackless has a ring not for wearing. Right?

The word ring translated not as a ring that you use on your fingers (sormus), but as a more general term for a loop. (Rengas)

I think when it says ring not for wearing it means it's a literally ring that is not even supposed to be worn. Has anyone else noticed something in their own translations?
Steven Halter
111. stevenhalter
Silkki@110:That's interesting. The thing that would leap to mind for me, in that case, would be a fairy ring. Or in the 4C, a definite gate to Fae.
Jo Walton
112. bluejo
Silkki, Shalter: Or Tarninel, as we have discussed before? Great to have confirmation that it's not a ring.

AhoyMatey: Sorry. I found it very odd on Tuesday not to have the deadline hanging over me.
Katy Maziarz
113. ArtfulMagpie
"Or Tarninel, as we have discussed before? Great to have confirmation that it's not a ring."

Jo, perhaps you mean Faeriniel? The place "where all the roads in the world meet" and that "no man has ever found by searching," and the place where, in Kvothe's story, Sceop finds a ring of greystones? I still really think that Faeriniel may be the "ring not for wearing," and that it perhaps sits tucked away in the oldest of the Lackless lands...
Steven Halter
114. stevenhalter
Jo@112&ArtfulMagpie@113:Yes, that exactly. I think the Lackless door will be in the midst of a ring of greystones. Nice to have Finnish have different words for the different rings.
Jo Walton
115. bluejo
Faeriniel, exactly. My finger slipped... or maybe my brain.

Good old Finnish, inspiring fantasy since before fantasy was a genre.
116. Silkki
Bluejo, those discussions had slipped me somehow. It's awesome you guys had discussed it even without extra info.

I never thanked you for this reread, and it's about time we fix that.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! It has been awesome and I imagine I will pop here atleast few times a week for months to come.
117. mutantalbinocrocodile
Sorry to be so late to the party! I've been so overworked that I've only just managed to finish WMF and have missed all the great discussion!

Not to mess with everyone's head too much, but. . .are we certain that we should have a Department of Invented Linguistics for this world? I can't help thinking that, not to belittle all the hard work, everyone might have gone down a trope-ic bunny hole of Rothfuss' excavation, not entirely unlike the Bad Map.

Evidence #1: "Ivare enim euge". This isn't just Latinate. It's mostly Latin, but completely nonsensical Latin. Both enim and euge are words that are as close to ungrammatical as you can get (one's a particle and one's an interjection), and they're both practically impossible to translate into English. But they're real. (Ivare is a fake infinitive--you could get it by swapping conjugations with a real verb.) You just can't make a sentence like this, or anything like it. This sentence is Latin nonsense, not an invented language. I laughed out loud at this. In public.

Evidence #2: "Edro". We all know this is straightforward Elvish.

So my question is: even given that it's possible to reconstruct some vocabulary and make some grammar guesses, are these two bits extremely donnish (and extremely funny) hints that, although our genre expectations have led us to expect an invented language, there really isn't an original one to be uncovered, just a really elaborate allusion to the existence of the trope that's reducible only to nonsense?
Steven Halter
118. stevenhalter
@117:Those two have been noted before. The 'edro' is, of course, a pure homage. PR has his bits of fun in the linguistics as well as everywhere else. He has derived or reused a few pieces, but he does seem to be following some rules. The different languages at least look like there are internally consistent. Wether or not he really has more behind the scenes remains (as with most things) a matter of fair debate.
119. mutantalbinocrocodile
My question remains--as you say, room for debate. Has PR ever flatout confirmed the existence of invented languages in the books? It's clear that there is some degree of consistent vocabulary and phonology, which is pretty common, but I'm questioning whether there are any actual constructed languages, or just the convincing illusion of there being such.
Steven Halter
120. stevenhalter
@119:I doubt if there is a complete constructed language like Klingon behind the scenes. There is probably enough of a language to enable PR to be consistent within his own works.
An interesting counter question would be how much of a language needs to exist in order for it to cross from 'illusionary' to 'non-illusionary'?
Also, note that it is the "Department of Imaginary Linguistics"--a title that seems to cover both forms.
121. mutantalbinocrocodile
Since part of the reason I took so long to finish WMF was that I was wrapping up a difficult course in grad-level comparative and created linguistics, I'd say that an invented language needs to have enough grammar that you could, given adequate vocabulary, construct your own sentences in it if you knew all the rules (assuming there were enough rules to do so). That's more robust than making a large fictional vocabulary (you get that in Watership Down, for instance, but Lapine has absolutely no grammar, presumably intentionally) and/or making sure that words from different parts of the world sound right together (that's phonology--Brandon Sanderson's blog has some good stuff on doing convincing phonology without going in for actual languages).

Basically, what I want to know is: has PR played an impressive practical joke on the fandom by getting the Department of Imaginary Linguistics organized, or have I been taken in by all the real-world nonsense words and joke English etymologies such that I falsely believed that everything was nonsense? It's hilarious and meta either way, but those are two different meta jokes to play on readers.
Ashley Fox
122. A Fox
@93 fourwinds

That part and another struck me as significant foreshadowing. As you say the kings death is predicted. The other moment is when the Maer is in bed, sick, and as a halo of light around him. Halos being iconograhy synonmous with religion and sanctity. In my eyes further evidence of the Maer becoming the penitant king.

There also being penitant priests in the Tehlin church. I do not think we should confuse this symbol as one that is neceesarily good. Tehlin priest are presented as someone to fear, the church of corruption and vioence, and the Maer has his iron gibbets.

@97. That is awful...and I like it.

(@94 et al theres some interesting dicussion on the chancellors and Elodin in the Timeline thread :) )
thistle pong
123. thistlepong

The most direct answer to this was the one I heard in person. The linguist behind me at a reading asked a couple of questions about the languages in the KKC. Pat said he strove to ensure the Ademic, Siaru, Modegan, whatever sounded good/right, but did not create languages like Tolkien.
124. Dao
Speaking of languages, I just stumbled upon something:
Remember in Skarpi's tale he mentions the "Ruach" right as Selitos and Tehlu are transformed into angels by Aleph? It's interesting what that word means in Hebrew.
Steven Halter
125. stevenhalter
@121:The point of the Department of Imaginary Linguistics isn't (at least to me) is to help illuminate clues PR may have planted about the story. For example, we have had numerous doscussion on just what the various words in Vorfelan Rhinata Morie might mean and how those meanings might relate to the story.
PR seems to like planting clues, Easter eggs, and interesting sub text in all sorts of places.
126. J-J
Please explain the Adem concept of “anger.”
Please explain the concept of justice. Or wei-wu-wei. Or weltschmerz. Or toska.

It is in german though... ;-)
Steven Halter
127. stevenhalter
No D3 yet, no new posts--sigh. With thanks to the late George Harrison, here's something to glance at (we'll see if it is accurate at some future):

I look in your eyes and see the doors that are breaking
While the moon gently weeps
I look at the ring and see the names they are taking
Still the moon gently weeps.

I don't know why I never told you
Beautiful is written in your name
You made certain no one controlled you
They sought to hold you.

I look at my hands and I notice they're shaking
While the moon gently weeps
With every misstep we must surely be breaking
Still the moon gently weeps.

You don't know how I was diverted
Words can carry a sting
You don't know how we were inverted
I did not know a thing.

I look in your eyes and see the doors that are breaking
While the moon gently weeps
Look at your eyes...
Still the moon gently weeps.
Dean Garcia
128. Shiameyo
Lately I've been getting the feeling that Kvothe's story might end up being a parallel to Lanre.

Kvothe might have wanted to get more power, and thus meddled with dark powers better left alone. He fought with the protectors of the power (whoever/whatever is behind the DoS), got what he wanted, and possibly changed his name to reflect his new 'self'. He was eventually betrayed and killed (similar to Selitos/Lanre). But because he can't die, he came back to life (thus effectively 'faking' his death). He changed his name again to try to rid himself of the curse/die, but it didn't work. It would fit with the tragic ending of the hero being brought down by what he has been warned about since the beginning (folly, specifically the same as Lanre's folly). Now he, the powerful tree/bloomed flower has been (broken) cut down, and now he just waits for death that he know won't come. He's telling this story to show the world his folly so that they won't follow in his footsteps.

Could someone check if Kote has ever slept in the frame?
129. Dao
@128 In Name of the Wind, after Bast tends to his wounds from the scrael, he falls asleep. I don't have a copy on me, but I'm pretty sure of that instance, at least.
Hero Canton
130. HeroineOfCanton
I just saw PR at his reading/signing in Columbus. He said a lot of interesting things, of course, but an answer he gave to one question made me think of this reread so strongly that I just had to report it to all of you.

When someone pointed out the uselessness of the map, he simply flipped us all off.
131. knnn
The fact that the "Great Stone Road" has what appears to be a constant curvature implies to me that the map is a flat projection of a curve surface.

I haven't done the actual math, but it seems to me that the amount of curvature of the road (if accurate), imlpies that we are either far north, or that the size of the 4C world is smaller than the Earth.
Andrew Mason
132. AnotherAndrew
No one seems to have commented yet on Rothfuss's answer about the rings. Apparently we already have clues. Well, we are told explicitly that if you learn the name of something you get a ring to wear on your left hand, and that rings on the right hand represent something quite different that we aren't yet ready for. Beyond that, can anyone think of anything relevant?

One possibility, I suppose, might be that a ring on the right hand represents the power to shape the thing in question.

Do we know on which hand Vintish rings are worn? (Though most of the time, they aren't worn at all, just displayed.)
George Brell
133. gbrell

I've been trying to draft some comprehensive thoughts on the rings.

At least one thought:
-The Adem's idea of the left hand being clever, the right hand being strong.
Andrew Mason
134. AnotherAndrew
That would fit the idea of a ring on the right hand being for shaping (having power over the thing), I guess.
Ashley Fox
135. A Fox
Glamourie and grammarie, naming shaping, left and right, the clever and the strong...

In the frame does Kote stare at one hand, or both? I seem to recall a could have some significance of the type of magi used in the event..

Which hand did K old the cloth when he made the bottle of Strawberry wine? I suspect it was the right...
Rob Core
136. robtcore
@ 130. HeroineOfCanton wrote:
"When someone pointed out the uselessness of the map, he simply flipped us all off."
Going with the ring speculation, let me ask you:
Which hand did he use?

And to the peanut gallery:
Now that the re-read is concluded (or caught up. . . ), how many of you are suffering withdrawal on Thursdays?
I find I am getting much more accomplished at work, but I am not necessarily happy about that.
Is anyone willing to run a weekly Kingkiller - Speculation, Deduction, and W.A.Guessery thread every week?
Would Tor be willing to host?
Jo Walton
137. bluejo
RobTCore: We could certainly do it on a forum here. Or I could put a post up every week with just any interesting stuff sincelast week and people could go ahead and speculate, if enough people wanted to.

How many people are interested in this?

I'd need to ask if it was OK, but it probably would be.
andrew smith
138. sillyslovene
I would read along with that. Don't know how much I could/would comment as real life is busy and I don't know how much I would have to say/speculate. But if needed to persuade the powers that be, I would give probably a few page hits here and there :)
Steven Halter
139. stevenhalter
A post collecting new stuff periodically would be good. Quite a few people probably aren't looking at the forum area.
We can also easily create a forum thread for discussion. All the old posts are still out there also and available for comment--there seems to be a fairly steady stream of new people discovering them and being delighted.
Hero Canton
140. HeroineOfCanton
Going with the ring speculation, let me ask you:
Which hand did he use?


I'd be up for new discussion every week or so.
142. maniacalengineer
I would love the occasional discussion.
Rob Core
143. robtcore

I would love keep this going, there is so much to speculate on.
(On which to speculate?)

Honesty compells me to agree with sillyslovene - I would be much more of a lurker than a full-bore speculator. I can guarantee I would read everything, but it is tough for me to get it together to post often.

Are enough of the heavy-lifters/frequent commenters interested in participating?
George Brell
145. gbrell
Jo, I would certainly appreciate a place to continue speculating.
147. Faek
Thanks for the reread Jo! I'd love to continue following the discussion somewhere.

Crackpot idea:
"Do you know the seven words which will make a woman love you?"

What if we're reading the last part wrong; perhaps it's a specific woman and not women in general. The seven "words" might be seven true names, say for example the names of the Chaendrian. The woman in question might be Lyra, the Moon, ... :-)
148. ryan7273
I really miss not having new posts to read every Thursday. I'd be happy to read and comment on any future speculation. Thanks for offering to continue this, Jo!
149. Raenyn
I just came to the Kingkiller Chronicle universe a few months ago and there's a lot of speculation you folks did I have to think over yet. And I was thrilled that my theory of Meluan being Kvothe's aunt was generally agreed on. AND the lockless door in the Archives being the Lackless door the name came from... And maybe even the connection between the Lacklesses and the Amyr. And the thing in Meluans heirloom being a device to open the door. I like the lodenstone idea very much.

Anyhoo, there's one thing I really have to disagree with: I don't think Yllish knots are some kind of magic. That just doesn't make sense, since Denna isn't lovely just because she braids her hair 'lovely'. When she unbraids it, she's not ugly all of a sudden, right?
So I'd rather settle on the fact that Yllish knots are simply a style of "writing". Maybe she just liked the idea of wearing a message in plain sight and nobody could read it or would just think it being some awesome braid, that would explain how it embarassed her when Kvothe indicated he knew the meaning of that particular braid.
I think PR may have based this on Quipu and maybe a bit of Latin American Macramé ( at least that sort of Macramé in which each knot has a certain meaning, like bringing good luck, keeping friendships, warding off hardships etc.).
Gary Singer
150. AhoyMatey
A weekly recap would be great. I would probably more read than post - so many books, so little time - but there are some very clever and thought provoking theories out there...
Lauren W
151. laurene135
About the rings:
I just assumed a ring on the right hand was for marriage, similar to ours for the left. They're not ready for it yet because they're young.
Andrew Mason
152. AnotherAndrew
The right hand might well represent marriage - wedding rings are worn on the right hand in some countries - but are they too young for it? Kvothe plausibly is, but most of the students are over eighteen, an age that has been considered marriageable in many times and places.
thistle pong
153. thistlepong
I dunno if folks are posting in new location. In any case folks should check out Pat's blog today. Fans forged him a copper knife. He essentiallt confirms copper is dangerous to namers. More importantly, he expresses some shock at the heft and solidity of the knife; neither as soft or impractical as he'd thought.
Steven Halter
154. stevenhalter
thistlepong@153:That is interesting confirmation. That implies that Taborlin needed his copper sword to use against other namers/shapers. The most likely time for namers/shapers to be stabbing each other would be the Creation wars, but there could be rogues at any time.
Now I'm going to guess that Kvothe will need a copper weapon at some point in D3. Hmm, maybe that is why the sword is Folly--never fight a namer with a steel blade.
Ashley Fox
155. A Fox
Thanks for heads up Thistlepng, had seen the pik in my feed but RL an' all...and admitadly I didnt connect copper with pink..erm, copper version of oxidisation. Have heard of the lost art of blue copper...

Shalter: Re folly. That would be bitterly humerous, I like it.
156. korirotti
Thanks for the reread and the interview! This was awesome.

On a related note, I came across this song recently. It is in Tamil, but seems to fit the K v D scenario really well:

Why this Kolaveri D? (get it? :P)

It is about a guy's anguish with a girl who behaves mysteriously. :)

(bonus, he sings about the moon!!!)
157. Holmelund
Anyone knows if the blogs Pat promised* are on their way?

A blog about the map/geography "in about month" (been 2 months now)
a blog about the moneytery systems "I’ll be doing a blog about this before too long"

Just curious (and horribly impatient for anything related tot he series since the wait for book 3 is hellish)
158. Kristof
@153 The copper idea is mentioned by Elodin in NOTW 'His cell had no door worth mentioning'. I look forward to learning exactly what this means in the next book.
Tim Kaufman
159. Tymerion
#35 -- I think the "hint of a magic" is when Bast and Kote share drinks right after the soldiers beat the crap out of Kote. Bast does some kind biological sympathy and takes K's wounds upon himself to heal K? It really stood out to me in a recent reading... As I ponder it more, it's probably an on-screen example of grammarie...but I really don't know
160. deviantlightning
Elodin means that it might as well not be a door because he can do nothing to it. It doesn't have an inner lock and he has no means of getting through it with sympathy (as he is lacking an energy source). The other implication is that Namers can't do things to copper, though I suspect that isn't the full story. He's basically drawing parallels to Taborlin's legend of a cell built specifically to keep Namers in. Martin's story references Taborlin's copper sword and I think there is also mention of a copper box somewhere (it might have been Kvothe was making up stories about Chronicler).

Bast is Fae. I hesitate to say anything more than that other than this probably is simply how reality works for him. It's like Felurian grabbing moonbeams. It just comes naturally and trying to ask for an explanation is generally useless because it's like asking how somebody is able to lift an arm or breathe. It's probably not sympathy. It may be related to Naming, but I'm not certain about that as it may simply be neither. I'd go with "grammarie."
161. deviantlightning
I believe El'the means "Namer."

So :
"Seer" --> "Speaker" --> "Namer"

It's a pretty significant plot detail that Kvothe and Fela had to practice the "speaking" part.
162. ASR
I'm not sure if anyone is still reading this thread, but I came to many similar conclusions as people here. Some of the theories strike me as extremely far fetched and some are just plain bizzare to me (why worry so much about the trefoil compass?).

That said, one thing I picked up on that nobody seems to have mentioned is the material of the Lockless box. It says in book 2:

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

So, I did a book search on "lemon" (thank you kindle) and found the following when he visits the CTH:

"The wind shifted and as the leaves stirred I smelled a strange, sweet smell. It was like smoke and spice and leather and lemon. It was a compelling smell. Not in the same way that food smells appealing. It didn't make my mouth water of my stomach growl. Despite this, if I'd seen something sitting on a table that smelled this way, even if it were a lump of stone or a piece of wood, I would have felt compelled to put it in my mouth. Not out of hunger, but from sheer curiosity, much like a child might."

Now, this seems a lot more thin that when I first stumbled onto this a few months ago, but I think the woods are one and the same. Especially if the box contains a piece of the moon. Remember that Iax consulted with the CTH before he stole the moon, etc. Maybe he was told to use this. Maybe the wood has some curiosity inspiring properties, I'm not sure.

Anyway, I have more theories but this was the most tangible one I'd like to mention here. I hope someone sees this and can comment or maybe find another instance of the lemony wood.
Steven Halter
163. stevenhalter
ASR@162:How the compass works is bound up with potential shapes for the world and how the magic systems work.
The material for the Lockless box being the same (or similar) to the tree the Cthaeh is in has been noted in other threads. Good reading.
George Brell
164. gbrell
The link between the Loeclos box and the Cthaeh's tree has been discussed a couple times in the other threads (there's a new one posted every month, but a lot of us check the old ones too).

There have been a couple theories on what is inside the Loeclos box. A number of them have connected the two woods to conjecture that the box is part of what binds the Cthaeh to the tree. One of the theories I find most interesting is that it contains the obsidian stone that Selitos used to cut out his eye/bind Haliax, but I'm not sure that I believe Selitos to be the Cthaeh.

You can find a lot of them by searching the site's (not just this post's) comments for "lemon."
165. Arganthonius
Damn it. I had this entire story in my head about Arliden and Lorren being friends back when they were younger and then Lorren betraying Arliden and using Naming to wipe his memories of him.
166. tap
This question below... I would ALMOST believe Pat's answer if not for the fact that there's a picture floating around of him sitting in front of a chalkboard where he mapped out the University.

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.
I use my brain. Sometimes I write down some notes. On paper. Usually with a pen.
(Jo: Wow.)
168. VGwritesalot
The bit about Ramston steel is a HUGE (very sad) spoiler if you're paying enough attention.

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