Jul 19 2012 2:00pm

Rothfuss Reread: Speculative Summary 12: Tinker, Tanner

My ridiculously detailed reread of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles is over, but the speculation goes on. I’m going to post the occasional speculative summary of cool things posted since last time. Spoilers for all of The Wise Man’s Fear and The Name of the Wind — these discussions assume you’ve read all of both books, and frankly they won’t make the slightest bit of sense if you haven’t. This post is full of spoilers, please don’t venture beyond the cut unless you want them.  

Abbreviations: NW = The Name of the Wind. WMF = The Wise Man’s Fear. D3 = Day Three, the forthcoming final volume. K = Kvothe or Kote when I can’t figure out what to call him and I’m feeling Kafkaesque. MT: Myr Tariniel. D = Denna, 4C = Four Corners, CTH — that thing I can’t spell! IID3Y = Is it Day Three Yet?

Useful links: The Sleeping Under the Wagon post. The re-read index. The map. The timeline. Imaginary Linguistics.

So the big news since last time is that Pat posted to his blog:

1. The manuscript I gave Betsy was 150,000 words shorter than the eventual print version of the book.

2. Vashet didn’t exist. At all.  Bredon didn’t exist. At all.

3. There was no Adem hand talk. No tak. No ring rituals in Severen.

and people have been posting and also emailing me (By the way what’s with that? Do you think I don’t read the comment threads?) saying essentially that this proves, proves PROVES that Bredon isn’t Master Ash.

Three things. First, it doesn’t prove or even imply any such thing — Bredon could have not existed and still been Master Ash once he did, because if Pat can change his mind then he can change his mind. Second, why aren’t you all excited about Vashet’s poet king not being the king Kvothe killed, if she didn’t exist either? Third, and this is the important thing, second guessing the text from the point of view of authorial intent is pointless. When things get put in doesn’t affect how significant they are to the finished work. I have said this before, and I don’t know if I can explain it any better now, but it really is better to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

When you look at a finished piece of work you didn’t write yourself, whether you’re going to analyse it in fanatical detail or just read it, it seems seamless. It’s like Kvothe’s shaed. But when you’re actually writing something, you stop and start and go back and fix things and have new ideas and change your mind. From the outside, it’s a shaed, from the inside it’s a hovercraft full of eels.

The fastest I ever wrote a novel was Farthing, which I wrote in 17 days. It got significantly less going wrong and going back and adding stuff than my novels normally get. (I joke that I write all my books in 17 days, but that 17 days is usually spread out over a year or more.) But even so, even with Farthing, I had the wrong idea of what the end was going to be until more than half way through. It’s an alternate history mystery, and it has a detective and a murder and I was going to have the detective solve the murder and sort everything out at the end. And I was writing it and I suddenly couldn’t see how to get to that from where I was, and I thought about it and I had a much better idea for what to do in the end that makes it a million times better than it would have been, and which is now central to my idea of the novel and is the one thing I wouldn’t let anyone change about it. And I had written (let’s get some use out of my livejournal wordcount posts!) 66328 words out of 93000 before I thought of it.

So all Pat’s saying is that Bredon, Vashet and the rings in Severen were not in the first draft. That’s all. It may make them more significant rather than less.

However, reading that post and reading the Amazon interview with Sanderson, it does seem that we can gather some things about his process that are kind of interesting. He wrote an overall draft of the whole thing in 2000, which did not have the frame, and he’s drawing the three books out of that very rough original, and not always finding it easy going. I think this explains some of the depth it has, the sense of layers and actual history and depth. He’s been working on this world and this story for a long time, and there actually is more iceberg than is showing above the surface.

Okay, moving on.


Dave Delong wonders about Haliax and the Doors:

So it seems that Haliax has issues with the 4 doors. He cannot die, he does not forget, and he stumbles over sleep. This suggests that he is also not insane (the other door being that of insanity). How scary is that? Supposedly the greatest villain in the world cannot die, always remembers, never rests, and isn’t crazy? And not only is he not crazy, but he can’t go crazy. So Haliax is being forced to constantly live with the pain of losing Lyra. He can’t forget her, and he can’t go to her, and he can’t sleep, and he can’t go crazy. I can’t imagine what that would do to someone. Perhaps he believes that destroying the world is better than continuing to live with the pain?

This also implies that when Kvothe explains what the four doors are, that they are more than just a convenient explanation. It actually has an application to larger events.

And all this ends up with this final question: are the Doors of Stone related to these four doors? Are they a fifth door?

Yes, a horrible fate for Haliax there, alive, awake, sane, and unforgetting. (I’m glad we have some evidence that Kvothe sleeps in the frame.) But what are the Doors of Stone? The Enemy (Iax?) was put behind them.

I was also wondering, how far can we trust Scarpi? He seems to do good to Kvothe in terms of naming him and waking him from his “sleep” in Tarbean. He’s Chronicler’s friend, and as Chronicler names him to Kvothe as if it’s a good reference, we can assume that Kvothe and Scarpi have had some positive interaction, or at least some interaction that Chronicler believes Kvothe will remember positively, in the blank space we can’t yet see into. (IID3Y?) But we have wondered all kinds of things about Chronicler and this story as a trap, and really, we don’t know. It makes a huge difference, because so much of what we know about Lanre and the end of the Creation War comes from him. The Chandrian kill the troupe for singing the wrong kind of songs, whereas D’s Lanre song becomes popular without them stepping in, which leads one to think that D’s version is acceptable to them and therefore missing something they don’t want spread (maybe their real names?) but we didn’t actually hear Arliden’s version, and we don’t know where it falls with respect to Skarpi’s version, which as we have noticed is a story about Selitos.

Cotterdan wonders if Denna’s Lanre song is meant to counter Skarpi specifically:

I don’t know if anyone else has brought this up but maybe Master Ash is feeding Denna the false story of Lanre to counteract people like Skarpi. It seems from puppet that Master Ash has something to do with the church, and since they were so against Skarpi it would make sense that they want to put an end to his tale. I would imagine that people were less willing to believe Skarpi’s story about Lanre after Denna’s song became popular. Maybe the church is working for the chandrian. That would explain why the church has become so corrupt and split with the Amyr, and it would also fit with Skarpi having such disdain for the church if he indeed is an Amyr.

This also fits with Master Ash being Bredon. While Kovthe is falling in line with the Amyr’s drive to serve the greater good, Bredon is just trying to play a beautiful game. Bredon is serving the church and therefore the Chandrian. He is having a song be made that will make people less likely to believe stories like the one Skarpi told. He is setting the Amyr up to be the bad guys.

I was always thinking it was to counter Arliden and anyone else following in his footsteps and getting interested in Lanre, but Skarpi is going around talking about it, and not getting killed by Chandrian. So maybe he has some protection — maybe Amyr protection, or he is an Amyr, which should help with the Church too, and we know he gets away from the Church. And if he has some protection, then this counter-propaganda would be a really good idea.

And thinking about the Doors of Stone, which I am absolutely sure Kvothe opens in that blank space that is D3, it makes me think that this is like an actual literal prophecy, not in the story but in the real world. One day the Doors of Stone will be opened, and all that is unknown will be known, and all we have thought will be vindicated and some will be cast up and some will be cast down. You know, when D3 comes out.

The Name of Copper

Knnn suggests:

Perhaps copper has no Name, and so it cannot be crafted and is also “invisible” to a namer’s senses (making a copper dagger perfect for a namer assassin)?

Remember that Kvothe has a “ring with no name”. Could this be a copper ring?

Heroine of Canton:

I really like the idea that copper has no name. As a general rule, magic is always more interesting when it has limits, so why shouldn’t there be a limit on naming, specifically that there’s something in the world that simply doesn’t have one.

Cotoye Blue:

I really like the idea, too, weird. If the no-name thing turns out to be copper. That would mean there is a thing that has properties, a calling name, but no deep name.

I’d prefer a nameless substance to be something that only comes into being when you shove other, real material out of the way. A tangible form of The Nothing from the Neverending Story, if you will.

Another Andrew:

I’m doubtful that the ring without name can be copper, because it’s supposed to be an unseen ring. Now, to be sure, ’unseen’ seems to be a bit of an exaggeration, given that the ring of flame shone ’full faintly’, and a ring of ice is presumably also visible if you look hard enough. But it doesn’t seem to fit something as substantial as copper.

Of course, if you get rings for naming things, there’s something intrinsically odd about a ring with no name.

It’s also interesting that, so far as I can remember, copper and its alloys have no place in the Vintish system of rings. Gold, silver and iron are the main set, with bone, horn, wood, leather and grass for special purposes. But not copper.
Yes, I think copper having no name would be weird. But there’s the thing about the Name of Fire. Kvothe says that fire isn’t a thing, it’s an exothermic reaction, which is totally true in the same way that copper really is a thing. I mean it even has a true name (Cu) and an atomic number and an atomic weight and everything, unlike fire and the wind and people... but if naming is a matter of really getting your head around something, getting all of your head pointed in the same direction, sleeping mind and all, then maybe copper is just so impossible to do that with.

I still don’t see why it would be extra useful to kill namers and shapers, except maybe they could melt your iron blades... except that we know that Caesura was at the battle of Drossen Tor. But what is Caesura made of, eh?

Maybe it would be possible to kill Haliax with a copper knife? But if this were common knowledge during the Creation War, then surely Selitos would have done it?
Artful Magpie:
I think I had posited a while ago that somehow the strange grey Adem blades (like Saicere) are actually copper that’s been shaped somehow by the same technology-level that made the siegestone and the other wonderful devices the University can’t replicate...somehow making the copper much harder and more durable, while leaving alone whatever aspect of copper that makes it good for killing Namers...just a theory!
Shalter disagrees:
I don’t think that copper would not have a name (or else we really don’t understand what Naming is) but that it is somehow resistant to the efforts of Namers. We did see when Selitos confronts Lanre that Selitos cannot destroy him as Lanre’s name is too powerful. So, maybe rather than lacking a name, copper has a very powerful and distictive name (why I don’t know)—it’s all full of copperiness.
@3-Could the “ring with no name” correspond to the K’s mastery over the 4c equilvalent of anti-matter that can unmake anything’s Name (anti-grammarie)? This is probably related to the various silences mentioned throughout NoW & WMF. Not sure where this comes from though.
I pretty much agree with shalter; it makes little sense for copper not to have a Name. Nonetheless, as the text and comments and author remarks collide and coalesce, I’m starting to think that’s the case.

During Jo’s admissions interview, one of us presented this question:
If invented, are there other magics to be created? Does Kvothe create one?
That’s a good question. No spoilers. But nice try.
On the surface, these are pretty standard answers revealing nothing. If you’ve listened to, watched, and read his interviews, though, it suggests quite a bit.

“Good questions,” are essentially notions that are on the right track for some potion of the story. They may not be true, but they usually hint at something someone within the narrative must deal with. The best example is paraphrased as, “How does succession work in Vintas?” Without fail, that’s a good question. Does it mean Kvothe’s a Lackless or could inherit? No. But it strongly suggests that someone in the story is considering that very question.

“No spoilers,” tends to mean the question as framed is impossible to answer without giving something away. In the early WMF interviews, questions were cut off thusly for approaching the latter half of the book. At this point the trade paperback is out, spoiler warnings are up, and he talks about Felurian and the Adem as much as he ever will. The only spoilers left are things that will happen or be attempted. Does this mean Kvothe will invent a new magic? No. However, It feels like he’ll struggle with that.

So it’s entirely possible that copper is (was?) unnameable. Kvothe is a bit of an autodidact polymath Mary Sue who, ignorant of this basic fact, could conceiveably discover its name and become unbelievabley dangerous. Good question. No spoilers. The final ring was without name.

The other line, “There were rings unseen on his second hand,” seems to give folks some trouble as well. There’s a fairly simple, possibly balderdash, explanation here. Elodin discusses an old tradition of Namers wearing rings to display their acumen. Elxa Dal, on the other hand, suggests that such a practice also displays one’s weaknesses. Kvothe isn’t the sort of fella who’d willingly give an enemy any advantage. These are names he knows, not names he shows.

This is from Pat’s blog post about the copper knife:
And when they were talking about my books they came to the conclusion that, “a copper knife could be really useful if you wanted to kill a namer.”
Then I thought, These guys have been reading the books really closely. (italics his)
For whatever weird reason, I’m tickled by the notion that authors will craft a fiction and not expect folks to read it closely. I’m glad he finds it pleasing.

Anyway, this is our confirmation that Skyaldrin, Felurian’s copper knives, and the cell in Haven are all fairly significant. I mean, I suppose he could be giggling that they’re on the wrong track, but I choose not to think so.

Still more interesting was his surpirse at the actual knife’s weight and use value. I got the feeling that he viewed a copper knife as a whimsical fairytale device; something fantastic that no one in their right mind would actually own or use. Commenters have tended to agree across fora that copper would be useless for weapons. Deadan says as much in text. Chemists are apparently more common in the tubes than smiths.

This is Kvothe’s initial reaction to Elodin’s former cell in Haven:
The first thing I noticed about the room was something strange about the air. At first I thought it might be soundproofed like Alder Whin’s, but looking around I saw the walls and ceilings were bare grey stone. Next I thought the air might be stale, except when I drew a breath I smelled lavender and fresh linen. It was almost like there was a pressure on my ears, as if I were deep underwater, except of course that I wasn’t. I waved a hand in front of me, almost expecting the air to feel different, thicker. It didn’t.
The entire passage is NW ch 46 pp341-3. There’s so much to discuss and so much we’ve already discussed. But he undeniable fact of the text is that this room with its solid copper door, copper meshed walls, and copper infused window messes with Namers. Elodin feels it. He’s surprised Kvothe feels it, but we’re really not. Notably, Sim knows it’s important and it’s likely Wil and Manet do as well. Kvothe, as usual, is kind of left in the dark.

We’re shown that copper is affective and told that Kvothe is ignorant, leading us back to the possibility that he might name the unnameable because he doesn’t know he can’t.

We’re also shown a the burnished copper of the door, the green copper verdigris within the walls and the red curpic oxide in the windows. None of them compare to the Adem swords. Someone humorously, or not, suggested that the dull grey oxidation on them pointed to aluminum, which would be pretty fun.

Finally, I’m limited by my spceific ignorance about alchemy. I think most of us are. Copper plays a significant role in both the material and spiritual magnum opus and iirc has strong associations with esoteric traditions, but, well, I’d just be doing bricolage. Maybe someone else can tinker further.
I’m also interested in copper, how it rusts (I believe this process is different then other metals any chemists out there?), and the Chandrain
Copper does oxidize in unusual ways, in that Cu2O, two coppers plus one oxygen, and CuO, one copper with one, are stable. The first is red, the second is black. Copper itself is fascinating stuff.
Danthony33 has a thought on the brass-bound barrels:
First, since the copper knife was mentioned in the post and commentary, I wanted to say that I always felt that the barrels bound with brass in the inn were not just to exclude iron (e.g. make Bast more comfortable), but because brass contains copper. After all, only three barrels were delivered with brass and you would think he has more barrels, or if not, that there is all sorts of iron used in a buidling like an inn.
Could be. What would he need three brass bound barrels for right now? Hmm, lots of things ordered and being delivered now, those, the mounting board. I wonder if that’s significant of things coming to a head?
Valyrian on brass:
Now that you bring up the subject of brass, I’ve noticed that Denna reacts curiously to this alloy. When Kvothe shows her the lodenstone in NotW, she speculates if there could be brass lodenstones as well (and who knows, maybe there are?). And when she gifts the new lutecase to Kvothe, it’s mentioned that she specifically asked to make it without brass. I also immediately thought that it might be because brass contains copper and she might be somehow affected by or vulnerable to it.
 My idea is that he will name copper in D3, and therefore name something that previously didn’t have a name. His talent with naming has been foreshadowed on multiple occasions (Auri, Nell the stereotypical serving girl, the horse he buys to get to Trebon, Caesura, Master Ash [who fits regardless of whether he really is Bredon or Cinder] etc. Also note how many characters suddenly have a name in the narrative without introducing themselves), so he could pull it off. His motivation should also be clear: his obsession with the four plate door. Maybe it’s not that important what’s behind the door, but what Kvothe will do to find out. Maybe everything the shapers did to the world somehow hinged on the fact that copper doesn’t have a name, and it’s Kvothe naming it that wrecked the world to the point where it is in the frame. I think that’s the real thing Kvothe feels guilty about, not the kingkilling. Political turmoil settles down after a while, the destruction of the magical framework of the work doesn’t. And it explains the chaos with the skindancers and scrael.

So in short, I think the “Ring with no Name” is one of the rings that indicate power in Naming: in this case, naming something that didn’t have a name before.
Now this is brilliant, and perfectly possible. Consider yourself promoted to E’lir, Valyrian, in the Department of Imaginary Sympathy.
Types of Magic
Alaric show up with a list:
I want to clarify the distinctions about the types of magic described. Here are the all the types you have found and a brief notation of mine on each:

1. Alchemy-using unbound principles and other unnaturally occurring materials. It doesn’t make sense. I know nothing about alchemy.
Nobody knows anything about alchemy! Except that Kvothe must have learned some in D3 because of Celum Tincture.

2. Sympathy-use of one’s alar to link 2 or more things and use an available energy source (fire, body temperature) to affect the linked things
Invented in the University, according to Elodin, and therefore probably new since the Creation War.
3. Naming/Shaping-what the person does with the understanding of the subject provides the distinction, i.e. knowing what something is inherently and thus controlling it (calling the wind for D’s asthma attack) vs. using that control to change that inherent quality into something else entirely (creating Felurian’s silver fruit)
4. Sygaldry-inscription of runes upon physical objects to create links/bindings. This may be the basis for D’s theory of a magical method of writing things down and making them true. Unsure.
I really don’t think so. Sygaldry is written down Sympathy from what we’ve seen of it in the Fishery, using specific runes as bindings in exactly the same kind of way Sympathy works, what D dismisses as magical moneychanging.

5. Glamourie-“making things seem”, creating an illusion, i.e. “glamoured as a pack mule laden”

6. Grammarie-“making things be”, creating an new physical object such as the shaed. This also could be how Bast was able to heal K’s tooth, by “making it be healed”. Also unsure.

7. Knacks-I definitely subscribe to the idea that the knacks are leftovers of natural talents of the pre-CW population diluted in the intervening years since due to migration (to Fae?), genetic drift, lack of genetic reinforcement, etc.

8. Knots-by seeing one is possibly influenced (such as by D braiding “lovely” and “don’t speak to me”). Unknown effects if read aloud (in Yllish?). Definitely related to the Lackless box, and it’s opening.

9. Tahl-healing songs and dancing trees. We need to know more.

10. Unknown-I think this one is the direct physical imposition of your will onto reality through physical action, such as JohnPoint’s concept of the “single, perfect” step/cartwheel, with the. Will becomes thought becomes unstoppable action with perfect control.

I see right off the bat is that 5 & 6 are created out of nothing, possibly related to Fae being a construct? 3, 4, 8, and 9 are all related to a language-either verbal or written. Can anyone see more links or clues?
Alchemy is off on its own to do with stuff, or maybe it’s connected with Sygaldry? Anyone else got thoughts on the connections here?
Tinker Tanner
Alaric again — what do we know about it and why haven’t we talked more about it? Really good questions.
I’m also curious about the lack of investigation into “Tinker Tanner”. We are repeatedly told how it is the oldest lyrical song (Bellweather being the oldest). Everyone sings it, creates verses-it is well known enough for Anker’s crowd to occupy themselves for a long while singing it, and is known from the University in the Commonwealth to the troupers who lost their bear in Vint.

There have been plenty of comments about PR’s take on the power of stories and music and how they change through retelling, so what would the impact be of a 4C-wide song that encourages the creation of new lyrics? Is it a continuous collective oral history? IIRC, there are very few actual lyrics provided by PR, but we do know that they are based on the structure of a limerick as described by K.
I have thought of this song as being like the cherry-pip counting rhyme that supposedly predicts your future spouse “Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggarman, thief”, sort of crossed with the “Dung foot peasant” song from Athyra. But who knows?
Music and the Lethani
Valyrian makes an interesting connection:
Elodin asks every student to come up with a subject that cannot be explained. When Kvothe protests that no such thing exists, Elodin quips he should’ve said music. Kvothe replies that music explains itself and then (UK paperback p. 230):

“It [music] is the road, and the map that shows the road. It is both together.”

Now that sounds remarkably like the way the Adem try to explain the Lethani!

“No,” Tempi said sternly. “The Lethani is not a path.” [...] “The Lethani is what helps us choose a path.” (p. 711)

The imagery here is very similar, which is never accidental with PR, so I think this is one his hidden-in-plain-sight foreshadowing moments.

It’s especially curious because there’s definitely more to the Adem taboo of performing music (and by extension expressing emotion at all). So we see music contrasted to the Lethani, using similar imagery, but differing “definitions”: music is not only the way to find the road, but also the road itself, but Lethani isn’t the path itself. The fact that the Adem stress this fact implies that we’re not just talking in random metaphors here.

Also, I don’t think Kvothe is just randomly good at music. It’s been speculated before that after the death of his troupe, when he played his lute until he could play certain events of emotions, he was actually naming these things, only with music instead of words. This would fit with the theory that his encounter with the Chandrian put him into a sleeping mind like state, which he only snapped out of when Skarpi named him in Tarbean.

We also have the Singers, which we know almost nothing about, except that they’re probably identical to the Tahl, a nomadic people of certain existence (unlike Fae, Sim doesn’t doubt them at least) who live beyond the Stormwall and can heal people with their singing or animate trees (by the way, I’ve always assumed they lived in a forest because their home is called Tahlenwald, with -wald being German for forest - but that doesn’t seem to work well with a nomadic lifestyle).

I think singing, or music in general, allows access to a form of magic similar to naming, but instead of using words to describe the inherent nature of things, they use music.

Then we also have the implied common ancestry of the Adem and Edema Ruh. It’s curious that if this is true, one of them made music their defining trait and the other turned it into a taboo. Could this be the initial reason of their schism? I wonder if music falls somewhere on the namer/shaper divide. It is certainly related to all of this somehow, because I don’t buy that the Adem shun it only for cultural reasons (in my opinion - and I’m sure Kvothe would agree - music is not at all like making facial expressions. It’s more like laughing or crying - suppressing it would be “unhealthy”).
Fascinating, and while we’ve talked about some of these things separately, I don’t think we’ve put them together before. And Kvothe deliberately uses Spinning Leaf for Naming. And music is a way in to his sleeping mind for sure.
Broken House
Flidan has a thought:
As for waystones, I think that they are simply magical anchors binding the worlds of the 4C and Fae together, kind of like Ule and Doch in Sygaldry. We’re told that the land was ripped asunder, around the time of the CW, well something has to be holding them together now. My answers: The waystones. This is of course pure conjecture and I have absolutely nothing to back it up with...
We do not know when they were erected, or who put them there, or what they’re for. But they could be part of world-mending. The broken house at the end of the broken road? And if the road is the Lethani? Because that’s the one other thing we know about those people who fought the Creation War, that they didn’t know the Lethani.
But the broken house represents the 4C world right? And the unfolding house represents Fae? What’s broken about the 4C world? Maybe it’s that it didn’t conform to the ideal magical world the shapers had in mind so they (or Iax specifically) decided to make one from scratch.
We don’t know. A lot could be. The moon has been stolen for a start. And all the cities except Tinue were destroyed. We don’t know what it looked like before the Creation War, or immediately after.
Shalter suggests a third world:
2)The broken house could be an entirely different world than either the 4C or Fae. The existence of more worlds than the 4C or Fae is implied by the Tinker knowing about items like the folding house and the existence of the Doors of Stone as a prison of sorts. I rather like this option and its implications
The prison beyond the Doors of Stone could be a world that isn’t the 4C world or Fae, a whole new world. Pity they couldn’t put the CTH there.
The Lackless Moon
Pfemm asks:
What if the Iax/Jax stealing a piece of the moon story is related to the Lackless rhyme?
What if his full name was Iax/Jax Lackless?
or What if the name Lackless came from Iax/Jax-less?
What if Lady Lackless was the moon?

What if the Black dress was the night sky (possibly with no moon)?
To add to this, there have only been three significant boxes mentioned in the text. There’s Kvothe’s own chest, which we know he made and brought with him and carried upstairs and can’t open. There’s something in it and we don’t know what. Then there’s the Lackless Box, which has Yllish runes on the outside and contains something that sounds like metal or glass. And there’s the box into which Iax shuts part of the name of the moon. I always thought that they were all the same box, that Kvothe’s chest has the Lackless box in it and the Lackless box had part of the name of the moon in it and had been Iax’s box. But then there’s the “mountain glass” theory of the blood from Selitos’s eye as being what’s in the Lackless box, which also feels powerful. And some people think Kvothe’s lute is in his chest. (I think it may be in there too.)

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

Andrew Mason
2. AnotherAndrew
I agree with all your points about how if something was not in the orginal plan this does not mean it's not significant: but I think that with
Bredon and Master Ash there's a much more straightforward argument to be made.
Bredon is Master Ash
Master Ash is explicitly mentioned in NOTW,
Bredon is explicitly mentioned in NOTW.
it would be wrong to say that, when Rothfuss wrote the draft of WMF, after NOTW was completed, Bredon did not exist at all.

PR may have had no idea that he would be called Bredon, and that he would meet Kvothe in Severen and tell him about rings, and so on: but still, he existed.

Now, as I suggested last time, one can get round this by saying he means that the persona of Bredon did not exist at all; but that still seems a bit weaselly to me.
Jo Walton
3. bluejo
Another Andrew: Master Ash could have existed without being Bredon. If he can change his mind, he could have changed his mind about that. "It would be much cooler to have Master Ash be someone K meets before D3 -- I know, I'll give him a persona in Severen". I'm not wedded to the Master Ash theory. I assumed he was Cinder, and my first reaction to the Bredon theory was "But he seemed so nice!" I wouldn't be surprised either way, but I don't think this is evidence one way or the other.
Steven Halter
5. stevenhalter
AnotherAndrew@2:PR is free to make changes as he wishes. It is his story. We have (many) theories about how things may go and they may or may not prove out in D3. Maybe we haven't met the king who Kvothe kills. Maybe he doesn't even kill a king. Maybe Bredon is Master Ash. Maybe Denna is Master Ash. Maybe someone we haven't even met yet is Master Ash. PR will write the book as he writes it. What is certain is that he won't feel constrained by an unpublished rough draft manuscript.
We have a certain hope that PR (and his editor) will stick the landing when D3 and things will make sense.
6. DVS
The 'new magic' point is very interesting...why not have music be incorporated with Magic? Specifically, Kvothe's music (ie, the songs he composes, his lute, his voice, etc). He could have even Named music, and created a ring out of it.

This doesn't particularly yeild well with the fact that both the Adem and the University look at music in somwhat-unfavorable ways. Also, whenever there is music not being made by Kvothe, bad things happen. At the wedding, the Chandrian appeared. When Denna plays her song Kvothe argues with her.

All in all, I feel that there is something special about his music - something that sets his songs apart from others.
George Brell
7. gbrell
I have thought of this song as being like the cherry-pip counting rhyme that supposedly predicts your future spouse “Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggarman, thief”, sort of crossed with the “Dung foot peasant” song from Athyra. But who knows?

There is at least one version of Tinker Tanner on youtube and Pat's linked to it from his blog:
Andrew Mason
8. AnotherAndrew
bluejo@3 and shalter@5: Yes, of course Rothfuss could have conceived the character of Master Ash without him being Bredon. And of course he's not constrained by his unpublished rough draft. I hoped that I had already made it clear that I agreed with all that. But suppose he had first conceived of this character simply as Master Ash, and had then, while working on WMF, come up with a new storyline in which he is known as Bredon, and meets Kvothe in Severen, tells him about the ring system, teaches him tak, and so on. Of course he could have done this. But still, in doing so he would have been adding new aspects to an already existing character, not creating a completely new character. So, it would be inaccurate to say that before this, that character didn't exist at all (and the 'at all' was emphatic). My point has nothing to do with what changes Rothfuss can or can't make, only with the precise meaning of what he said.
9. Builder
I'm sure this has been suggested before, but I wonder if the ring with no name is for silence.
C Smith
10. C12VT
Can Haliax be sane and want to destroy the world at the same time? What does that imply about the world?
Jo Walton
11. bluejo
Builder: If it is for silence, it could have made the Silence of Three Parts which is specifically said to rest in K's hands.
12. Wallace Forman
I'm going to post this here since I don't know where else to put it. Apologies if it is wrong or old speculation:

Remember when Elodin makes his class look for twenty books and Kvothe finds all of them except for one, called "En Temerant Voistra" which no one seems to have heard of?

If that isn't it precisely, then it is some other name which Elodin is trying to trick the students into chasing without realising it.

My guess is that it literally means "The name of the wind" or "The Wind's Name" in some language Kvothe and the other students do not know (but is not the wind's "true name"), and master Elodin was attempting to force the students' sleeping minds to seek out the wind's name, unbeknownst, the traditional first task of student namers.
13. Wallace Forman
Woops I posted that comment poorly... the third paragraph should be the last one.
14. ilse
Oooohhh. Builder and Wallace Forman, I love both of those ideas! Nice one.
Jeremy Raiz
15. Jezdynamite
I've been rereading NW and I noticed that Josn (the guy that Roent/Reta's caravan picked up just before Kvothe starts at the Uni) had a black lute case with brass clasps. Also Kvothe's old lute case had mismatched clasps, which included some brass clasps amongst them.

I think D ordered his new lute case and insisted on "not using brass" as brass was simply not special enough.

Also, could the unusual silence at the Waystone be caused by copper being somehow woven into the walls of the Waystone inn? It could explain why some forms of (Kvothes) magic don't work so well in the Waystone. Just like Elodins's first failed attempt at making the stone wall collapse in the rookery until he realized there were copper veins woven into the stone walls.

But then again, Bast's magic seems to work ok in the Waystone...

Oh, and I love Valyrian's thoughts on Kvothe naming copper. Brilliant!

Thanks again Jo for another great post.
16. opinjonated
Copper is an interesting subject.

Felurian speaks of other factions of the Fae, saying: "many of the darker sort would love to use you for their sport. what keeps these from moonlit trespass? iron, fire, mirror-glass. elm and ash and copper knives..." So clearly there is a use to copper.

In the more mundane world, copper is an exceptional conductor of both heat and electricity (energy). It stands to reason if there is some underlying force that powers all magic, that copper might also conduct that energy.

Kvothe's name is Maedre, which means "flame, and thunder, and broken tree" (which makes sense, since Kvothe called lightning). In the book it's stated that Taborlin the Great's sword, Skyaldrin, is made of copper. When battling the Sorcerer King he also calls lightning.

And last but not least, Pat posted this blog:

Basically a fan sent him a copper knife, stating:

They they liked to goof around with forging things as a hobby. And when they were talking about the books they came to the conclusion that, “a copper knife could be really useful if you wanted to kill a namer.”

To which Path thought: "These guys have been reading the books really closely."
17. Naillin
"The Chandrian kill the troupe for singing the wrong kind of songs, whereas D’s Lanre song becomes popular without them stepping in, which leads one to think that D’s version is acceptable to them . . ."

It occurs to me that we assume it was the song about them (or the information touching on them) that brought them down on the troupe but I can't recall if that was ever specifically said. How terrible would it be if the Chandrian were actually guarding people from an even worse threat by eliminating anything bearing information on it.
S Cooper
18. SPC
C12VT - he doesn't necessarily have to have empathy or care about anyone or anything else to be sane.
19. opinjonated

Yeah, it was the song. Or more specifically, the true names of the Chandrian within the song that attracted them.

Now, it certainly seems like the Chandrian are actively trying to conceal some sort of truth, and they'll use almost any means to do so. I think Haliax and the world might disagree about whether that's for the world's greater good.

There are a number of people that have noticed that the prefix 'Rhi' or 'Rhin' seems to mean knowledge (contextually). 'Rhinta' is the Ademic name for Chandrian.

We also know that they showed up to the Mauthen farm to kill everybody who saw a piece of the pottery with the images of the Chandrian and the Amyr. It would make sense if that was a prophecy or a record of an event they wanted forgotten. I personally lean towards the idea that it's a prophecy they want concealed to delay or prevent it coming true.

What fascinates me, is that the only prophet we know of is the Ctheah. Part of me wonders if he was always a tree, or if he was 'shaped' into a tree so that he'd be locked away from the mortal realm where he could reveal all sorts of things they'd rather were kept secret.

Right or wrong, it's food for thought. I can't wait until the next book!
Steven Halter
20. stevenhalter
@19:Recall that we don't actually know that the Chandrian were killing either the troupe or the people at the farm. While it does seem they were attracted by their names, we don't know what their motivations or actions were for certain.

Also, the Cthaeh is not the tree. It is a creature in the branches of the tree.
21. opinjonated
@20: I hear what you're saying, but I think there's some fairly compelling evidence.

Cinder said "Someone's parents have been singing entirely the wrong sort of songs."This is right after Ben, an Arcanist, warns Arliden about using names. We've also learned from Skarpi's story that Haliax's name was turned against him and he can have no rest. Selitos says:

"This is my doom upon you. Your own name will be turned against you, that you shall have no peace. This is my doom upon you and all who follow you."

As for the Ctheah not being a tree, Kvothe specifically says: "I have never spoken with a tree before and find myself at something of a loss."

To which the Ctheah replies: "I am no tree. No more than is a man a chair. I am the Ctheah."

Which suggests that if Ctheah is not a tree, he must have been something else shaped into a tree. At least, that's how I interpreted it. Or simply a unique resident of the Fae (though that seems less likely).
Steven Halter
22. stevenhalter
@21:Yes, the names in the songs draw the Chandrian. But we don't know if they killed anyone.

To which the Ctheah replies: "I am no tree. No more than is a man a chair. I am the Ctheah."

A man sits in a chair. The Cthaeh sits in the tree. In both cases the one (chair and tree) are holders of the other (man and Cthaeh).
23. opinjonated
@22: He doesn't say he is to the tree as man is to the chair. He says he's no more a tree than a man is a chair.

But we can agree to disagree. I'm not saying I'm not open to the possibility that the Cthaeh is a creature in the tree, but even depictions on fansites show a tree with a face. There's absolutely no mention of Kvothe seeing anything in the branches, and suggests he himself thinks he's speaking to a tree - at no point does he correct himself. Not to mention that Cthaeh seems to be stuck where he is.

Shaping has already been explained as forcing a thing to go against its nature. It made sense to me that the Cthaeh might have been shaped into a tree - but that wouldn't make him a tree.
Steven Halter
24. stevenhalter
@23: This:
Chance?” I echoed, trying to catch a glimpse of whatever was speaking to me from among the branches of the tree.
and this:
A pause. A blur. A slight disturbance of a dozen leaves. Two more wings twitched, then fluttered downward. “Come now,” the voice continued, now coming from a different part of the tree, though still hidden by the hanging leaves.
and this:
I thought I saw a sinuous motion among the branches, but it was hidden by the endless, wind-brushed swaying of the tree
all point to something hidden in the branches. While it could be part of the tree, combining these with the Cthaeh's statement of "I am no tree. No more than is a man a chair. I am the Ctheah." lead me to the conclusion of a creature constrained to the tree in some fashion.
25. kvodin
Some pretty damning evidence I feel lol
George Brell
26. gbrell

I feel shalter is correct here. The phrasing the Cthaeh uses is an analogy. Just because it doesn't use the literal (x) is to (y) as (a) is to (b) doesn't make it not. Occam's razor suggests that "I am no tree" means just that. Your theory also requires that the use of "chair" be random, e.g., the Cthaeh is no more a tree than a man is a ///////.

Add to this the fact that the Cthaeh actively kills butterflies, that Kvothe describes movement and the potential of a creature within the branches of the tree (as documented by Felurian), the fact that Kvothe describes it as "something in a tree," and Felurian is concerned about Kvothe being bitten and the argument for the Cthaeh being a tree would require it to be a moving, biting tree.

But the real nail is in Ch. 175 when Bast is describing the Cthaeh and says explicitly "it can’t leave the tree." The two discuss the Cthaeh as separate from the tree ("Because anything carrying the Cthaeh's influence away from the tree . . ."). Bast references "the Cthaeh's tree." All of these would be nonsensical if the two were the same.

Random aside: I haven't seen anyone mention the fact that if Rothfuss's original draft didn't have the frame story, did it not have the Cthaeh? (or Bast?) Because the frame story as currently written has Kvothe unaware of the extent of the Cthaeh's influence until midway through day 2. This means that if the Cthaeh were included the Cthaeh would have influenced the story in the original draft, but never gotten textual credit.
Andrew Mason
27. AnotherAndrew
gbrell: Well, we presume that Bast will enter the narrated story on D3, partly to explain how he met Kvothe, and also because we know he has met Denna. So the draft could have contained him even without the frame story. As for the Cthaeh, it may be that in the first draft K found out its significance earlier - perhaps from Bast at an earlier point, perhaps from someone else - Elodin, say. Since the received wisdom is that you can't do anything about the troubles the Cthaeh gets you into, its not clear that K finding out earlier would have seriously changed events.
Ashley Fox
28. A Fox
@ gbrell. Mmm I am a firm supporter of the theory that K is waiting as honey in a trap, playing his own beautiful game, the right way (hopefully!). I like to imagine that the frame would have appeared last, following his story in a linear manner, but that it was rearranged to add more drama and mystery. That thought is not confirmed in any way, btw.
29. opinjonated
I concede, I must have been wrong about Cthaeh. Makes sense. For whatever reason I thought, as a tree, he was using his branches to flick down the butterflies. But that's not the case if you read the specific passages.

The illustrated Cthaeh they used on Wikia didn't help either:
John Graham
30. JohnPoint
Hooray -- glad to see that the posts are continuing. Thanks Jo!

Just a quick thought about the name of the Chandrian: Ben indicates that their name comes from the Temic "Chaen" meaning "seven" (and thus, it translates roughly as "seven of them.") However, since their name in Ademic is Rhinta, perhaps the suffix "-rian" refers to the same root as "Rhinta" --afterall they sound pretty darn similar -- and thus "Chandrian" literally translates as "the seven old things in the shape of men."

On copper: remember that Bast's knives appear to be made of copper as well. The book isn't with me so I can look it up to find the quote, but iirc, they're described as a coppery or reddish color. That, along with the Felurian quote that opinjonated posted @16, is pretty strong evidence that copper has an effect against Fae creatures.
Ashley Fox
31. A Fox
Oh I like that. "seven old things in the shape of men"

On copper. Im not entirely convinced by the copper has no name theory (with K being uber and learning it anyway).

When Elodin breaks through his cell, he is only briefly put off by the copper mesh within the walls. When he does break through the copper appears to have been 'aged', thus weakening it. This strongly suggests that though copper certainly does exude a negating affect to namers, the namer can overcome this if they are strong enough to name it. (Which Im guessing would have to be a fairly considerabe strength.)

This, however, would not lessen the value of a copper knife. Becuase a knife is not passive, it is (very) aggressive. Although a namer may be strong enough to hold off the effect of the copper (lessening the amount of energy they could put into offensive 'magics'), they would also have to ward of a physical attack. The knife is two fold in danger; to their 'magic' and their physical being.

Could a copper knife not only peirce a namers body, but also a namers Name?
32. coyote_blue
Builder@9: I think this is the simplest explanation, and therefore the best one. If the name of silence is silence itself, then it has no name by default. It would also stand to reason that "true" silence would be incredibly difficult to attain without Zen meditation/Spinning Leaf. And that invoking true silence might kill someone, or cause them not to be.

@Music as magic: I think music might be a vestigial form of Shaping. Songs and stories change history over time, and therefore reality. The Edema Ruh might be the last Shapers in 4C, and therefore hated for their association with Jax.

@Knots as magic: I'm unconvinced. Yes, knots are a language. Yes, Ylls work magic through knots. But sygaldry is runes+sympathy, so knots don't have to be magic by themselves. Language as magic seems a better fit to me, because it would be linked to naming.

Finally: Denna. One thing I don't see focused on enough is the parallel between D's journey and Kvothe's. From D1 and D2, it's obvious to me that Denna is researching something on a track parallel to Kvothe, where she's careful not to admit to the real question, because she's been laughed at for asking it in the past.

It also explains the weird problem with D's song in D2. Kvothe is snippy about the Amyr because it's his nerd pursuit: desperately important, but forever shameful. D reacts in almost identical fashion about Lanre. Every person who speaks of either the Amyr, the Chandrian, or Lanre has an agenda for doing so, and none of those agenda are clear.

The only trustworthy agent on this is probably Auri, and she's crazy.
Ashley Fox
33. A Fox
@coyote blue. Re. Denna. That is an interesting avenue of thought, it was discussed with lots of interesting thoughts in the last set of spec posts ( I think, please correct if Im wrong!). Interesting stuff, and as you are already thinking along those lines, you may have some angles to add.

Oh and Auri chooses when to be 'mad'. Lightning.
Jo Walton
34. bluejo
GBrell: If the CTH had been in the text and there was no frame, it wouldn't be half as bad, because we wouldn't know half as much about it. That's one of the points where the frame most enhances the story. But how like it to have been in the text with no frame and had influenced everything and had no credit...

Going to Ademre meant that Kvothe missed the wedding, where he might have learned a lot. And it meant that he killed the false troupe -- he had the skill and he was in the right place -- which made a break with the Maer. If he hadn't spoken to the CTH he wouldn't have gone beyond the Stormwal in pursuit of the Chandrian and might have had a completely different time back in Severen.
35. robocarp
A couple points. On the question of whether Skarpi is trustworthy: he's not, by his own admission. When Kvothe asks Skarpi if his Creation War story is true, Skarpi says:
All stories are true. But this one really happened, if that's what you mean. More or less. You have to be a bit of a liar to tell a story the right way. Too much truth confuses the facts. Too much honesty makes you sound insencere.
Given Skarpi's personality I'd guess he'd be the sort to overstate facts to dramatize them, but based on the quote sounds like he might actually be downplaying facts to make them plausible-sounding. Either way, I think it's questionable to nitpick small details of Skarpi's story; they could easily be an exaggeration. However, I believe his Creation War story is true, more or less.

Second point: Unless Pat has revealed something I'm not aware of, I don't think we know for sure Tinuë was the city to survive the Creation War. 1. We don't know if Tinusa was city that survived (all we know is that it wasn't Belen or Tariniel). 2. If it was Tinusa, we don't know if its name later morphed into Tinuë. 3. If it was Tinusa and it later became Tinuë, we don't know if the modern city of Tinuë is the same city (and there's a very plausible reason it might not be: it's not on the Great Road). The similarity in names between Tinusa and Tinuë is the only clue for which city survived that I'm aware of, and given how PR likes to throw clues in, I'd say it's a pretty good guess they are related. OTOH I could see it if the modern city merely had been named in honor of the old Tinuë; it'd be a sublte leg-pull.
36. coyote_blue
Fox@33: I don't mean to suggest Denna isn't a source of (much) speculation. And I certainly can't prove that the "Denna as moon" theory is wrong. No one can till D3.

But I suppose what I'm pushing for is the Occam's Razor argument for why Denna is unsatisfying as a character. And that's what I'm suggesting when I say "not enough focus on the parallels".

There's a lot of bagging on Kvothe (in more casual reviews) as a Mary Sue, and my point touches on that, too. Kvothe is actually a bit of an ass, but it's okay, because we see into his mind. This leads to the mistaken impression that Kvothe has no flaws. But the guy's socially tone deaf, and that's obvious on several different occasions. (Why he didn't just hit on Fela and live happily ever after is a complete mystery to me.)

Entertainers are often terribly awkward socially (it even drives them to become entertainers, for the approval). Denna's "courtesan" skills are ultimately flattery and entertainment - neither of which are intimacy. She asks people to explain magic to her, then seems awfully dismissive of the answer (because it doesn't answer her unasked question). She's manipulative. She punishes herself too much when she steals the lute for her gift idea (because she has so little practice empathizing with others).

We don't see into Denna's mind, like we see into Kvothe's. We just get a general impression that her background is horrifying enough to produce the calloused human being that pulls a knife on the john in the alley. That's enough for us to understand her, but not to like her. And being defensive of Kvothe, we wonder what he sees in her.

I'd sure like for Denna to be made of fairy dust or something, but I think she's just a jerk. I think others have offered this point up before, but usually in the context of "I know somebody just like her." I thought I would offer a more point-by-point argument.
Ashley Fox
37. A Fox
Yes, well. Mmm. I was not suggesting she was made of fairy dust, or even referncing the D as Moon theory.

I was pointing you in the directions we have had concerning; D as conwoman, D as the hero, D as Lackless and all the myriad ideas that stem from such.

I will have to disagree with your negative perspective of her. Personally I do not view her threatening a man, who is in the process of raping a woman, with a knife as 'callous'.
38. coyote_blue
Fox@37: Hey now! I'm using "Calloused" as "toughened by experience". "Callow", I'm pretty sure, was the original word for "fickle and weak-willed." Which I think we can all agree is not Denna.

Also, maybe the negative connotation of "jerk" is too strong. But people can be good people while simultaneously being brusque or tone-deaf. I don't think we have enough data to make a moral judgment on Denna, even though she seems to be taking sides with Lanre/Haliax.

Just want to put it out there: pulling knives on rapists is perfectly legit. Don't put me in the Rapists Need Respect camp. ;)
39. coyote_blue
On callow, callous and calloused: Just looked 'em up. Seems callow=not tough at all, callous=tough and mean about it, and calloused=hardened by experience.

Memo to me: just stop using all three words. Minefield.
Christopher Johnstone
40. CPJ
Realy enjoying reading these still. I never do contribute much, but they're always interesting to read. On this point (from @21):

"This is my doom upon you. Your own name will be turned against you, that you shall have no peace. This is my doom upon you and all who follow you."

Has it been suggested by anyone that Haliax and his followers are doomed to be alive, awake, sane and unfortgetting as long as people keep using their names (i.e. as long as they are not forgotten)? I imagine that every time one of their names is spoken it might feel like a stab of pain even? It doesn't quite gel with Denna's song being ok, because she uses the name Lanre (if I recall right?), but maybe its the Chandrian names that are the crux of things?

I don't think that'd be all that's going on. It seems like the Chandrian are privy to some secret knowledge or secret task too, but perhaps the only exit from their endless task is to finally get everyone to forget them and stop using their names?

Just a thought.

On the ring with no name, a ring for silence seems more likely than copper, but that's just an inutitive feeling from the way the story is being told and how other rings are described.

On Kvothe making up new magic, I sort of suspect he already has but doesn't realise it. I suspect that his musical naming is a new form of magic, as it doesn't seem to exactly match up with anything else. If the university is dismissive of music, then quite plauisbly, no-one ever worked out music could be used that way. Also, Kvothe worked it out whilst alone and in a state of emotional shock after the killing of his family--very much like the sort of alone wilderness passage that magicians are sometimes traditionally said to take to find magic in actual European folklore.

If music-magic is a new way of naming, maybe that lets him undo something or open something that can't be opened or undone in any other way because it doesn't have a spoken 'name' exactly or is tough to master through standard naming? It's been a while since I read the books (and ought to re-read them) so I could be way off base on what I'm remembering.

Also, that might help explain the ring with no name. It isn't a ring made by naming and thing with no name, its a ring made by using music to 'music-magic' and master a thing that cannot be named.

John Graham
41. JohnPoint
Re the ring with no name being a ring for silence: I like.

Kvothe being able to Name silence would definitely influence the story in general, and the frame in particular, and would give new meaning to the "silence of three parts."
Jeremy Raiz
42. Jezdynamite
I still don't understand what it means to have rings "unseen" on his second hand. Perhaps, rings on the second hand relate to non-solid or semi-permanent state objects? And are seemingly much harder to learn.

Whereas the supposed five rings on his first hand (stone, amber, iron, wood, bone) all relate to solid objects which I can imagine are easier to learn and make physical rings (like Fela did). Or some are given rings, like Stapes bone ring and Meluan's insulting wooden ring.

All five "unseen" rings (relating to blood, air, ice, flame and no-name) are liquid, semi-solid or some other intangible "object". I mean, how could a ring be made of air, blood, ice or flame? The obvious answer is "magic" but I don't remember Master Kilvin or Elxa Dal (who I think both know the name of fire) having a ring of flame on their hand. Or Elodin or Abenthy having a ring of air on their hands (for knowing the name of the wind). Unless all of these rings are "unseen" and that's not unique to K.

For that matter, did anyone notice if Chronicler has a ring of iron on his hand? Or is that the ring/disc that Chronicler uses to bind Bast and he wears it around his neck instead of on his hand?

The ring of no-name could perhaps be when someone learns how to un-name things. Or the ability to change something's name.
43. coyote_blue
CPJ@40: I like the cut of your jib. In NOTW: "Who keeps you safe from the Amyr? The singers? The Sithe?" Why would singers be lumped together with badassed warriors and fae in the list of "all that might harm you in the world"? Your hypothesis would make sense of that statement - though the Adem should be in the list too, by rights. Has this been discussed in any of the other threads, y'all?

Such a theory would also suggest, but not require, that Selitos might have been angry enough to put a "curse renewal" in place. Horrible idea: what if the Amyr have the secondary task of reminding people down the ages how awful Haliax was, just to keep putting salt in the wound forever?

The University disdain for music could be a throwback to the Music as Shaping hypothesis. The Shapers weren't beaten, they were erased. What if part of that erasing was the University purgin its curriculum of shaping as part of magic?

If going on an adventure was the original "lab class" for naming, learning an instrument could be the lab class for shaping. Elodin's always going on about how the original University was vastly different from the current.
Alf Bishai
44. greyhood
Hi all. I posted a lot of this in the last thread before I realized there were 28 comments on a new one. (Forgive the hubris of re-posting.)

I've been thinking about cobalt some more. It feels conspicuous to me, and those Yellow dots really do have to mean something IMHO, and the Tinker Pack is the most conspicuous one, in the middle of Nowhere.

S0 I was thinking about what we know about the other metals, especially copper. A couple of things came to mind. Elodin was trapped in a room with copper in the walls, and Taborlin had a copper sword. (Both are mentioned above, so maybe this adds a dimension to the chat.) I immediately thought- maybe someone has a cobalt sword. Have we seen that? Is there one perhaps hidden in plain sight? A sword made of an unspecified greyish metal...

Airplanes are made of cobalt chrome. This alloy holds it's shape forever, and is apparently shatter-proof. (According to wiki, I believe. I forget where I read that.)

And then I wondered if there was a room that had a strange feel to it, like Elodin's cell... K. goes to lengths to describe the feel of Elodin's cell, and then re-describe it, and then take another shot at it. It was difficult to describe. Isn't this like PR himself describing the silence of the Waystone?

If it was copper in the walls of the Waystone, any powerful namer would walk in and know it immediately. Plus Chronicler named iron when he met Bast. But if there was a new cobalt magic that no one knew about - and cobalt was woven into the walls - and the Waystone was right above the cobalt mother lode - that would be a true weapon against even very powerful people - like having air superiority. A perfect ambush.

The Folly sword could then be a special cobalt sword he made specifically for the showdown, and that's why it's in the taproom. (A point against this is that if Cinder's dull grey sword is also cobalt, then the main enemy actually does know about cobalt.)

If this is on the right track, then maybe K isn't quite a master of the new magic yet, and that's why he's taking his time. Perhaps the breaking of the wine bottle was this new thing. Weren't we having to stretch things to explain it with sympathy?
45. coyote_blue
Jezdynamite@42: Good question. Doesn't Elodin say something about this in WMF?

Almost shyly, Fela held out her hand. But Elodin shook his head. "Left hand," he said firmly. "Right hand means something else entirely. None of you are anywhere near ready for that."

The poem calls the iron, amber, wood and bone hand the "first hand." When Kvothe dons the wood ring, he does not specify which hand. I smell a cover-up.

"First" implies "right", if you go by common hand dominance. But: the left hand is the fretting hand for guitar-styled instruments. You can play fairly complicated songs with only three fingers on your right hand. In that case, left is first.

Left is first also if you presume "second" means "more or later than first", as Elodin has just pointed out that right hands are for rings at El'the mastery (or higher?other?).
46. blue wolf
I don't think music magic is a new way of naming. in the story of Jax, he used a flute to call the moon. If the folding house is meant to be symbolic of shaping, it seems that the flute would represent this music magic. also, Haliax said kvothe's parents were singing the wrong type of songs, not that they were singing about the wrong thing. I'm starting to think kvothe's parents were capable of this music naming. it makes more sense to me as a reason Ben would be interested in them, and I prefer to believe there was a deeper reason for their deaths. it would also kind of explain why the adem are so against music. they seem pretty knowledgable about the chandrian, so maybe this is their way of preventing attacks
47. Wallace Forman
I always assumed that the copper slowed down Elodin because manipulating both stone and copper would require more names than copper by itself. The "weird feeling" Kvothe had when entering the room could have been some sort of Faraday Cage effect that eliminates some sort of innate sense of magnetic fields (ok that's a bit out there, I'll admit).

One other thing worth noting - Master Elodin seems to imply that the weird sensation from the room at Haven was not a new thing, but that the copper was. If that is the case, then there is no reason to think the two are related.
Steven Halter
48. stevenhalter
45. coyote_blue:I am with you on the "first" hand being a misdirect to right. I mentioned that a few posts ago and I am guessing also that the rings unseen (whatever that means exactly) go on the right hand.
Jeremy Raiz
49. Jezdynamite
shalter, coyote_blue: I have a feeling that any ring that relates to something non-solid, no matter who the namer is, will be unseen.

And Elodins's comments about none of the students being ready for displaying rings on the left hand (for unseen rings) was before K had called the name of the wind three times in one term.

At the end of WMF kindle chp 149 (Tangled): When Elodin asks K how long before K will be ready to make his own ring of air, Kvothe holds up his naked **left** hand and says "Who's to say I'm not wearing it already?", Elodin rocks with laughter but when K continues to act like he's serious, Elodin doesn't seem to be able to tell by looking at K's left hand whether he has made one, and asks "Are you joking?". To which K replies, "Good question. Am I?"

So if Elodin can't tell if K is wearing a ring of air, and he doesn't tell K that the left hand is for something else, is it safe to assume that no-one can really see "unseen" rings, like the ring of air (perhaps other than the bearer) and they are really symbolic/metaphoric rings...
Ashley Fox
50. A Fox
Does K not also swear an oath by his good left hand?

I also have a niggle lurking that left hands where mentioned in the shaping of his shaed. If someone has an ebook thingy and could search...would be appreciated. ;)
John Graham
51. JohnPoint
Rings are definitely an interesting subject. From Pat's answers to the interview questions, we have enough information to figure out what rings on the right hand mean. More on that later.

Similarly, we can guess that -- at least initially -- Kvothe would have worn a ring of air on his left hand, since that's where Elodin indicated that it should be worn by fledgling Namers. We can also infer that a ring of air would be invisible:
"How long do you think it will be before you can make yourself a ring of air?"

I lifted up my naked left hand, fingers spreat. "Who's to say I'm not already wearing it?"

Elodin rocked with laughter, then stopped when my expression didn't change. His brow furrowed a bit as he gave me a speculative look, eyes flichering first to my hand, then back to my face. "are you joking?" he asked.

That's a good question," I said, looking him calmly in the eye. "Am I?"
And that's all we get about Kvothe and naming rings at this point. He might have a ring of air (on his left hand), and it might be invisible. Elodin isn't sure, and Kvothe doesn't tell us for sure.

Thus, it seems clear that "rings unseen" might literally be that -- rings that are invisible in one form or another. As pointed out above, the rings on Kvothe's second hand are all "unsubstantial" in one form or another -- air, ice/water, fire, blood, unnamed.

On to another point about Naming rings: Chronicler is a very interesting example to consider. We know that Chronicler knows the name of Iron, and wears a circle or iron on a chain around his neck. The soldiers/mercenaries interpreted it as a Tehlin wheel, and as a symbol of his religion. However, as we saw, it's related to his being able to name Iron, since he slaps it down on the table, calls "Iron" and tries to put a binding on Bast. Very interesting... as @44 indicates, this could well be a Naming ring that Chronicler owns, but doesn't display. But the really interesting question:

Does having a ring allow you to use the item/element when it's otherwise not around?

For example, could a ring of fire allow you to call on fire even if there isn't a source of flame around? We can presume that there is iron present in the Waystone (even though Bast will be wary of it), for example in the nails, etc. So, why does Chronicler need to use his "ring" to bind Bast? Could a naming ring -- particularly one like fire that is a source of energy -- perhaps be used as a sympathetic link? (Note: this could relate to the source of energy that Kvothe used to break the bottle -- he might indeed have his ring of flame, but it's invisible to others.)

Interesting to speculate. There's a lot more here, methinks..

EDIT: Jez @49 seems to have gotten there before me, but I think our points are in agreement...
Jeremy Raiz
52. Jezdynamite
We sure are Johnpoint.

Its interesting that K could still be wearing his ring of flame or air (which I guess could be used to smash the bottle). I wonder then if he was holding the rag in his left hand and it was making contact with one of the unseen rings at the time?
53. master
CPJ@40: I like the cut of your jib. In NOTW: "Who keeps you safe from the Amyr? The singers? The Sithe?" Why would singers be lumped together with badassed warriors and fae in the list of "all that might harm you in the world"? Your hypothesis would make sense of that statement - though the Adem should be in the list too, by rights. Has this been discussed in any of the other threads, y'all?

"Singers" probably refers to the angels. From the story of lanre in notw they are linked to haliax. and when martin prays during the attack on the bandit camp. cinder starts looking a bit nervous . And since we know who the amyr and the sithe are, there's only one option open.
54. Valyrian
Thanks for the new post Jo! I was eagerly waiting for it but now I have missed it for three days, of course. And it's really flattering that you have covered my thoughts so extensively. Promoted to E'lir - it's weird how proud this makes me :)

There's so much going on here already that I don't know what to reply to, and I think it speaks volumes about Rothfuss' writing that even after meticulous re-reading we still have enough to talk about to make monthly summaries about it. There are just so many interesting aspects, it's making my head spin.

@En Temerant Voistra:
I really like the idea that it means "The Name of the Wind". It seems sound to my language intuition. I don't necessarily agree that Elodin wanted to accomplish something with it. Maybe it's just his kind of inside joke to ask them to find something in the library that they could only find by "chasing the wind". It sounds like the sort of thing Elodin would do. Maybe he wanted to reinforce to types like Kvothe that you can't find everything in the library.

Plus, it's a cute inside joke on a meta level too, to ask Kvothe to find a book called "The Name of the Wind". Which in turn sounds exactly like the sort of thing Rothfuss would do.

@Music/Lethani discussion:
Has someone already tried to put the various pieces of "road" and "path" imagery into context? We have the broken road in Hespe's story. We have Tehlu's two sides of the road in Trapis' story. Then Kvothe's quote about music and how the Lethani relates to roads/paths (it's not a path, but it helps choose the path). Anything else? The Edema Ruh live on the road. I feel like it turns up too often to not be related somehow, but so far I can't make sense of it.

The point that Denna's and Kvothe's stories are similar is a very good one in my opinion. I even recall Rothfuss saying that Denna's perspective would've made a just as good story as Kvothe's.

That reinforces my impression that Denna does work as a character, without any supernatural background (like being Fae, or the moon) to explain her action. I think people treat her unfairly by just looking at how the narrative describes her, because it obscures her true personality with multiple layers. Denna herself is concealing who she is, both from the men she dates and Kvothe (although she does tell Kvothe more of herself, she's very secretive about personal details - remember how surprised she is when Kvothe tells her what she's given away while high on denner). In-story Kvothe is infatuated with her and at the same time extremely cautious about asking personal questions. Frame Kvothe is probably still infatuated with her and an unreliable narrator to begin with. By being forced to see her through two layers of Kvothe, of course she doesn't come across to us as a real character.

This is why I think she doesn't need to be of supernatural origin for her character to make sense. I don't want to rule it out, but let's just say I'd be disappointed, because I think it would take away complexity from her character. But of course she still was exposed to the supernatural somehow, similarly how Kvothe was exposed to the Chandrian. Maybe she was in the Fae, or is connected to the moon.

Consider how Kvothe would look to her. He's also trying to conceal who he is. He acts mysteriously about his many abilities, and of course he doesn't tell her about his encounter with the Chandrian.

And finally, I also think peoples' expectations are getting in the way of properly accessing her character. We're not used to first person narration in novels, and therefore we're used to accept what we're told in the narrative as neutral even though it's colored by the narrators perception. And maybe even more importantly, we're used to female character archetypes (or should I say stereotypes?) in fantasy literature. Fantasy has a long history of problems with female characters, and even today where writers strive to create "strong" female characters, these are often stereotypes because they're strong in an overly assertive, pro-active and independent way (I'm not saying that this sort of character cannot work, but that it's easy to include such a female character as a stereotype only to show that you've got a strong female character). I suspect that Denna was meant by Rothfuss to be a subversion of this archetype: someone who's independent and able to get along on her own, but in a different way than we're used to.
John Graham
55. JohnPoint
@Valyrian re Denna --

You have some good observations about Denna. We had a really interesting discussion about her a few months ago -- you ought to go back and look at them when you get a change. In general, there was strong speculation (probably not general concensus, but some agreement) that Denna may well be on a hero's journey herself -- and thus the true "hero" of the tale -- while Kvothe is just getting in the way and is essentially an anti-hero. Whether it pans out or not, it's a fun thought.
56. Outthere

- Denna

Denna's character has often confused and angered me during reads. Only after I finish reading remember that this is K's narrative, and if it were Denna's narrative, K would be just as mystifying. I agree that Denna's story parallels K's, but her character is still so much of a mystery.

/turns on tinfoil hat hypothesis mode

She's definitely searching for something or someone and is willing to make sacrifices along the way if it means progress (I'm not sure if anyone has any good theories about what that something is, but I'd love to hear them). Whatever it is, it seems to be more important to her than anything else as she's willing to be beaten and leave the only person she seems to care for (K) at the drop of a hat.

I'm currently thinking that there is a possibility Denna is really after her true Name. Can't say that I have any compelling evidence to back that up, just her ever changing 'calling name.' Also, I think K's frame situation and Denna's narrative have similarities.

With all of that said, going back to early in NotW when K says to Chronicler, "I trouped, traveled, loved, lost, trusted, and was betrayed," I think its more than possible that he loved and was betrayed by the same person. If that's the case could it be that Denna somehow regained her Name during the course of events in which K lost his?

In essence:


All that said, I'm just throwing it out there (its probably been said already, I haven't been able to keep up with the comments) and I don't really quite believe it myself. What're the latest theories about Denna's overall role??
57. Outthere
@JohnPoint re Denna

Missed this, going back to look through that now. Thanks!
58. pininci
wow! amazing discussions and theories. my mind is working full right now as I combine them with my thoughts and might-be-clues. I especially loved the "music and lethani" part, because it has really bright ideas and some key elements I didn't notice before.
by the way I really love the name "edema ruh" because, "ruh" means spirit in turkish. and this is so beautiful and compatible with ruhs.
now I really should read the books again. I was waiting for the inspration, so thanks :)
59. coyote_blue
pininci@58: "Ruh" is Arabic for spirit or breath, and I'm pretty sure it's "Ruach" in Hebrew. Edema Ruh = Spirit of the Adem? Adam's Breath?

The human spirit is associated with the Breath of God in Genesis, since it's what animates the dust. Hebrew tradition also divides into written and oral versions of Biblical history. Interesting, and possibly not coincidental, that the Ademre seem a bit more focused on exactitude, while the Ruh are prototypical "free spirits" - but they seem related etymologically.

JohnPoint@55: Is this just the "Speculations on Denna" thread? Is there somewhere else this conversation got picked up?

On rings and hands: So it sounds like we're not very sure whether "rings unseen" have to be worn on the right hand? Kvothe indicates his left one might have the wind ring on it. Still begs the question of what the right hand is for.

If Kvothe really swears by his good left hand, it could imply an inversion from "Terran" magic practices, where the left hand is normally associated with black magic. Given that the Tehlin faith seems pretty strictly "people suck" in its worldview, it would make sense that the more dominant hand would be the evil one.

Finally, Chronicler wears his ring on his neck. I wonder if this is a backlash against magic generally. I wonder if the mistrust that everyone in University was afraid to exacerbate is finally out in the open. He might hide the ring to have no outward association with Naming whatsoever.
Andrew Mason
60. AnotherAndrew
Rings: I think the general idea is that rings denoting mastery of names go on the left hand, and that would include invisible rings, so if Kvothe had a ring denoting mastery of the name of air it would go on his left hand. But of course that would also apply to visible rings - Fela's stone ring is on her left hand. So this cancels out; the unseen rings could be on either hand, and so could the seen ones.

My guess, in the lack of further information, is that the unseen rings are indeed naming rings, and are on the left hand, while the visible rings are Vintish rings or something parallel, showing his bond with various people, and go on the right hand. This is confirmed by the fact that we already know of two Vintish rigns he has belonging to this set. (But do we know what hand Vintish rings go on?)

Depressing thought: We now know that Rothfuss does not have every detail worked out in advance. Moreover, I believe it's known that Tolkien thought up the line 'Seven stars and seven stones and one white tree', and only later worked out what these things actually were (and in my view he never came up with a really satisfactory explanation of the stars). So, is it possible that Rothfuss wrote the rhyme without knowing exactly what it meant, and is now working out various bits of ringlore in order to account for it?
Steven Halter
61. stevenhalter
coyote_blue@59:No, there was another thread after (I think) the Denna speculation post.
62. coyote_blue
AA@60: I'd agree with you about the rhyme being potentially an unplanned element. But Elodin's left hand/right hand shtick is specific enough that it has to be relevant. If Kvothe just plops more naming rings on his right hand without comment in D3, I'd call that equivalent to Obi-Wan saying he'd met Anakin in the Clone Wars, only to discover he's 9 years old in Episode I.

shalter@61: I'll try and find it. Denna theories are clearly more broad-reaching than I gave the community credit for.
John Graham
63. JohnPoint
@Coyote_blue: some of it was in the middle of Part 25, but got buried in all of the other discussion that occurred on that thread. There may have also been some more in another later thread, but without going back to find it, I can't say for sure...

Re Kvothe swearing by his good left hand: originally Kvothe tells Denna that he'll swear by his good right hand (as appears to be the common oath in the 4C), but denna indicates that she perfers the left. Kvothe, somewhat questioningly, says, "my good left hand?" like it's a strange, abnormal vow. So I think that the left hand is probably not the normal vow, and wouldn't necessarily factor in as a Tehlin "evil" hand.
64. Valyrian
@Ring rhyme:
While I love to speculate about its meaning too, we shouldn't forget that it's part of the Kvothe lore in the frame and therefore not necessarily accurate. It could be that for example, the fact that namers get rings to symbolize things they have power over got adopted into the rhyme to represent things Kvothe has power over, even though he never had a physical ring like those mentioned.

For example, ember seems to symbolize power over demons, so maybe he has an ember ring in the rhyme because of stories about how he summoned demons (and even if it's just the "demon wind" he summons against Ambrose which triggers the trial).

Even in the real world we don't know for certain if namers get physical rings for their mastery over a name every time, as evidenced by the talk Elodin and Kvothe have about his ring of air at the end of WMF. It's really unfair how that chapter ends by the way, I would've liked to know what Elodin had answered to him and whether Kvothe actually knew what he was talking about.
Andrew Mason
65. AnotherAndrew
I think it very unlikely that you get a physical ring for every name you learn - how would one go about making a ring of air? It would be non-trivial, at least; you couldn't just keep some on hand, as you could with stone rings.

I think it highly probable that the rhyme isn't 100% accurate; another indication of this is that there are references within the story to the legend that K has an amber ring which gives him power over demons. But I hope that at least each ring mentioned in it links up with something in reality. (Compare the speech about how 'I have rescued princesses...' etc.: certainly the events mentioned in that didn't all happen as stated - most obviously, K did not burn down the town of Trebon - but each has an identifiable source.)
66. wroxyter
Is there anything more to chronicler writing down kvothe's narrative on paper?
- Denna says in the first book, she has heard of a type of magic where anything written down becomes true.
- Kvothe/kote when building up chroniclers legand to the townsfolk, says whatever chronicler writes about in his notebook will come true.
- Kvothe insists that chronicler write down his narrative as it is dictated without changing or adding anything.
67. aloinerobin
Perhaps someone has mentioned this before - they probably have - but it's occured to me that having a strong alar might hinder naming. Alar is control with the waking mind; it is active thought. Naming comes from the sleeping mind; it is instinctive understanding. To Name, the sleeping mind has to sort of take over, and this interrupts the process of alar. (Is this why Kvothe's alar seems broken? Did he somehow go so far into his sleeping mind that he no longer has proper alar? Is this why the decrease in namers after the Creation War coincided with the discovery and rise of Sympathists?) Kvothe's greatest successes at Naming have mostly been when his alar can't have been in great shape: strong emotion (not heart of stone), being in a hurry, a crack on the head, being on the roofs at night with a half crazed girl, spending a month in Fae, etc. The idea reminds me of something Auri once said: Wisdom precludes boldness. Does rational Alar preclude the impulsiveness of Naming?
thistle pong
68. thistlepong
@42/51/60 "rings unseen on the second hand"

I addressed this in the bit Jo reposted on the summary. Thanks for putting to rest the speculations about which hand it refers to. These are naming rings. We're probably safe assuming he learns/knows the names of fire, ice, blood, and wind.

They're unseen because wearing them would be unwise. Elodin refers to an old tradition that he's bringing back. Elxa Dal, on the other hand, does not and would not wear a ring of fire (or a ring indicating the other Name he knows.) He states quite clearly that asking what names another knows is impolite and that revealing what you know suggests your weaknesses.

Elodin himself notably lacks the dozen or so rings he ought to wear if that sort of flagrant advertisement was something Arcanists were comfortable with. He names stone and wind without rings. Dal names fire, making it appear from nothing without a ring. The simplest explanation isn't that they have invisible rings but rather that they're unnecessary.

The rhyme is a warning, a bit of truth in a fairytale, for those who might heed it. Kvothe knows these names. Beware.
69. coyote_blue
thistlepong: Fair enough. "The second hand" would then just be his left hand again - what it would look like if he chose to wear his naming rings.

Which still brings the right hand into question. Rank one is Seer, no rings at all. Now devoted to demonstrating knowledge of sympathy: redirecting energy through pure will. Pure will does not, however, change anything's "essential nature"; instead it's some kind of practical solipsism.

Then rank two is Speaker (that is Rel'ar, right?). But like "Seer" isn't actually just about seeing, Speaker is more related to intuitive understanding. Speaking names is more about knowing something well enough that your lips move on their own. Then it's rings on your left hand - which, thanks to JohnPoint@63, I can still say might be related to the unconscious/dark mind in 4C, as it is in "Terran" mythology.

So El'the has to be related to the right hand, but that's all we know. We can't be sure what an El'the traditionally had to do to attain that rank, and we can't even be sure rings have anything to do with it.

Exceptional as Kvothe is, he seems to be following Elodin's "wizard's path": begins with huge intellect and powerful will; learns to put that intellect away long enough to observe the true nature of things; and then...kills kings?

Here's what I guess: University magic is parallel to Zen wisdom - mountains are mountains until they aren't, and so on. (Won't quote to save space.) But Zen also says, "a person on the path to enlightenment is an arrow shot into hell."

I bet "cracking" is burning straight through Re'lar to whatever truth lies in El'the. If you're not ready, you end up in the asylum. If you survive, you're Puppet or Elodin: a human bomb (Shaper?) that the University must now employ for life and hide somewhere.

And Puppet is allowed fire in the Archives for the same reason Elodin became a teacher after being locked up in an asylum: who's going to stop them, if they really decided to become a problem?
Sahi Rioth
70. Sahirioth
Oh, heck, I can't believe this question didn't occur to any of us earlier: What do we actually know about Elodin's stay in the asylum? (That's the Rookery, right?)

1. When was he there?
2. For how long?
3. Why?
4a. Why was he let out - was he even let out, or did he escape?
4b. If he escaped, did they (who are 'they'?) try to put him back in? If not, why not? Because they couldn't? Because they didn't want to? Because there was no need?
5. Who put Elodin in the asylum? Did he put himself there? Did he make himself 'crack' for the sake of some sort of experiment? Did he 'crack' inside the asylum, or before he ended up there?
6. If Elodin did indeed 'crack', when did he become sane again? (Remember that Kvothe looks into Elodin's eyes at some point, stating that he was perfectly sane. Completely unambigiously, I might add.)
Steven Halter
71. stevenhalter
Sahirioth@70:We have discussed those. In the timeline and other threads we've tried to narrow when Elodin was in the asylum. It, interestingly, seems to happen close to the destruction of Kvothe's troop and the Tarbean events.
George Brell
72. gbrell

We can't be sure what an El'the traditionally had to do to attain that rank, and we can't even be sure rings have anything to do with it.

The two plausible theories I've heard for what El'The stand for are "Listener" (see Hespe's story re Jax) or "Shaper." Since those two options reflect fundamentally different views of what mastery means vis-a-vis the world, that reveal will likely have huge importance regarding the original role of the University.

For other thoughts (some of which you seem to agree with), I'll direct you back to my original post on the rings:

I think that there is still something very different about Chronicler's use of "Iron" to bind Bast and Lanre's use of "Stone" to bind Selitos as compared to other instances of naming in the series.
73. Wallace Forman
When I first read Elodin's remark about a ring on the other hand meaning something different, I assumed that he was making a wisecrack about the student's not being ready to get married. Unfortunately there does not seem to be any evidence of anyone wearing a wedding ring in the novel, but I haven't given up on that theory entirely. In the ring poem, Kvothe only seems to be wearing naming rings on one hand, so non-naming rings might be worn on the other hand for marriage.
thistle pong
74. thistlepong
My specualtion about the ranks is:
E'lir = Seer (confirmed)
Re'lar = Speaker (confirmed)
El'the = Listener
Gil'the = Knower (~Arcanist)

The rings have nothing to do with the university outside of Elodin's latest batch on students, certainly nothing to do with El'the. A couple examples spring to mind: Fela is promoted to Re'lar upon creation of her ring and Mola is promoted to El'the during the story with no mention of rings or demonstrated interest in naming. El'the probably exhibit the sort of patience, control, and judgment Kilvin, Lorren, and Arwyl go on about.

The right hand rings have all appeared in the text. Wood and bone and likely iron referring to Vintic practices. The Amber ring began as a jest by Wil and eneded up in Kvothe stories by the end of WMF. The stone ring points to Fela. Here's hoping there's a story there.

Everyone from E'lir to Chancellor can crack.

I'd love to see a well presented set of parallels between Kvothe and Denna which you allude to in @32. We've talked about them from time to time, but there's no tight concise point by point post.

For that matter, we've yet to see a collection of Tinker Tanner verses, either.

Wallace Forman@70
Elodin was probably there about four years ago. He spent two years in the copper room. They don't speak on why the Masters locked him up. He escaped. They can't put him back. He probably cracked and he probably sobered to the state he's in now when he found the name of stone despite the limitations of the cell.

Your post @12 is just great. Even if the title doesn't translate thus, the act of searching still functions as you suggest. +1

Reagrding your @47, you're not alone thinking about Faraday cages. It's come up before. However, the door to the cell has always been solid copper and presumably the window glass hasn't changed either. Only the copper in the wall gives him pause; then he batters it down with a chair leg.

All your posts apparently jumped out at me. So, @73...oddly enough, what we call the ring finger is called the nameless in Chinese or unnamed finger...

Bast wasn't in the original draft.

Unless, y'know, he's Denna or something. Nah.
Jeremy Raiz
75. Jezdynamite

"My specualtion about the ranks is:
E'lir = Seer (confirmed)
Re'lar = Speaker (confirmed)
El'the = Listener
Gil'the = Knower (~Arcanist)"

I tend to agree with you, except one thing really still plays on my brain.
Kvothe (Kvo'the?) is mentioned as meaning "to Know" (according to Arliden) and I feel PR wouldn't have picked the name "Kvothe" and have it mean vitually the same thing as "Gil'the".

I know "Kvothe" could potentially be a word in different language, but it makes me think "Gil'the" could mean something different to "Knower". Maybe something like "Enlightened" or "Right Action" perhaps? Or "master"?

"Arcanist" could work though.
76. Valyrian
Is the rank Gil'the actually mentioned somewhere, or is it just speculation based on the fact that resident arcanists are called Gillers? I don't remember the word.

Another observation about copper/brass: the door to the masters' hall requires a brass key. It's explicitly described as such when Kvothe follows Elodin there before the scene in Hemme's rooms. Could mean something, or nothing. But it does make sense to make locks and keys out of copper to protect against namers.
Jo Walton
77. bluejo
Valyrian: Exactly what I was thinking. And I was thinking that "giller" for someone who has their Arcanist's guilder but isn't a Master, would seem to be an easy corruption of "guilder", no?
thistle pong
78. thistlepong
NW c9 p73
"That is a true gilthe. Or guilder, if you prefer."
We can all be kind of right. Guilder is the nickname, or corruption, of the name for the specialized gram worn by Arcanists. Giller is almost certainly related. Gil'the is never used, but I'd be surprised if the graduate rank didn't follow the established convention; especially with gilthe already involved.
79. coyote_blue
@gbrell: Thanks for the link.

@thistlepong: Thanks for the clarifications. I'll even give a parallels list on K/D a go. I have a searchable WMF, and just recently finished a reread.

I may be wrong on the particulars, but I still feel there's a huge aspect of "Things Mankind Ought Not to Know" to the higher levels of study, and Elodin's disdain for the University's current state implies that cracking hasn't stopped him from pursuing these mysteries anyway. Kvothe seems primed to follow him, and this story is a tragedy (?)...
Jeremy Raiz
80. Jezdynamite
I'm sure someone has said it before, but giller/gilthe/guilder could be "member of a guild".

I.e. the university guild or guild of arcanists. Similar to a thieves or merchants guild.
81. morf
I'm starting to get a strong feeling that there's a strong link between music, silence, Caesura (a musical pause, or silence), Kvothe, and the Ring Without Name.

It also could tie in with the schism between the Adem and the Edema Ruh, the Adem cultural taboo about music, the Singers being a dangerous force, the Tahl (who live beyond the Tahlenwald), the University's generally negative opinion about music, or the ability of the Chandrian to track down people who are singing songs rather than telling stories.

PR has made such an issue over the silence of three parts bookending the whole frame multiple times, and the silence of the Waystone, and "of course" there was no music that by Chekhov's gun, it must be pivotal somewhere in D3. It being so at odds with Kvothe's character as a young man for whom music is his core makes me think that perhaps there's a very good reason for the Adem to think music's not always a good or safe thing for the musician.

We've seen that he gains mastery over music; or rather, through music he gains names over other things, in the forest and in the Fae.

The idea of knowing the name of silence is a strange one, and maybe that's why there's so many "silences of three parts" - maybe to name or invoke silence is more than just speaking its name, it's creating the circumstances wherein you can manipulate it somehow. To wear a ring with no name, as an indication - and a boastful one at that, if you ask Hemme - of your power as a namer, seems fairly contrary. But to be able to name something nameless, and gain mastery over silence by using its name, certainly seems like the very definition of a master mage!

Not very developed, but I just have a feeling that the name of silence will come again, and not just as Caesura.
82. Holmelund
Does anyone know if the blogs Pat promised* in the answers to the admision questions, 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 to the series since the wait for book 3 is hellish)
83. Valyrian
That does make sense, but what I was wondering about, is it ever explicitly stated that there's an actual arcanist guild? I just sort of assumed that because of the name "guilder", but what if the word guilder isn't actually etymologically related to "guild", but to the word gilthe/giller?

I didn't remember the NotW quote thistlepong included above, but how I interpret it, "gilthe" is the proper name for the amulet and "guilder" seems to be just the colloquial word for the thing. Maybe it's some kind of folk etymology that associated "gilthe" with "guild" even though there is no actual guild? It wouldn't be the first time Rothfuss included something like that (ravel = traveling rabble, for example).
John Graham
84. JohnPoint
Re: gil'the, gillers, guilders, and guilds

It seems to me that Pat's answer will be that gil'the was the origin of all of the words, with guilders being a corruption, gillers being a reference to someone who has a gil'the, and guilds (in the common usage, e.g., merchants guild) derived from the University usage to then apply to mundane life. In other words, gil'the predates any usage of guilds.

It worked for wine vintage (coming from Vint), and ravel (as pointed ou @83).
85. Marco.
@70, Question 4b:

I believe that they are still trying to put Elodin back. At least, they're taking steps to.

When Elodin takes Kvothe on a tour, he mentioned that they changed something and that it was half clever. This implies to me that someone is actively working on a prison that can contain him. Whether they're building it "just in case" or because they'd like to put him in there tomorrow is anybody's guess.
86. coyote_blue
morf@81: You're suggesting, I think, that the three-part silence is the only way to Name something that can't be named without breaking it? I like it.

Which brings up a question. Why are all the silences "down" silences? What about the sudden silence that falls on a crowd, right after the lights go down, but before the screaming? What about the silence right before a dawn assault?

Active or tense silences would be a nice reversal in D3. I don't need Kvothe to survive, but I would like to see him go down swinging.
87. Adena
Is "rieusa" in Siaru "thank you?"
88. synless
I did a re read of the scene where kvothe tries to open the thrice locked chest. it seemed like the iron key unlocked the copper lock and the copper key unlocked the iron. do these two metals cancel each other out? also I think I figured out at least one thing about the chest. it's designed the same way kvothe's bloodless was made. that's why hacking it with an axe won't work; it just defects the blow.
thistle pong
89. thistlepong
Yes. shalter and Jhirrad created a pretty extensive lingustic thread here:
We've had a few additions to their initial work, but all credit goes to them.
90. Valyrian
Has it already been mentioned that one of the authors Kvothe reads to find out about the Chandrian (dated to 200 years ago, the one who talks in Ye Olde Englishe) also randomly capitalizes words, just like Denna does?
91. Marco.
Do you have a page reference? Im a full fledged member of the tin foil hat society that believes there's some code in Denna's letter and I'd love the chance to flesh out my obsession.
George Brell
92. gbrell
@91. Marco.:

Chapter 16: Unspoken Fear in WMF.
93. Valyrian
Code? That's interesting. I took it as an indication that the "Denna is older than she looks" theory might be true.

And sorry for not providing page number or chapter, I didn't have WMF with me at the time.
Andrew Mason
94. AnotherAndrew
Rothfuss is on record as saying that Denna is a teenager. She may, I suppose, still be older than she looks in the sense of 'born earlier' (as opposed to 'more years lived') if she has spent a lot of time in the Fae.

Perhaps she is nether Meluan's sister not Kvothe's, but their great-great-great-aunt.
John Graham
95. JohnPoint
Valyrian @90 and Marco @91,

Check out the comments on part 26 for more about Denna's letter. i
Hero Canton
96. HeroineOfCanton
Somehow I'm late to this post, and I only have a second right now to comment, but I want to write this crazy theory before I forget it.

I read the copper recap and then went on reading the rest of Jo's post, but I thought of copper again when I reached the section on naming and music. What if Kvothe Names copper with music? What if that somehow is the cause of his inability to play?
97. coyote_blue
I wonder if anyone else has floated this idea yet: What if Elodin is Master Ash?

The "seven words" sequences are what make me consider it. Kvothe says seven words upon first meeting Denna that make her fall in love with him. Elodin asks Kvothe about seven words during the first entrance exam. Denna later asks if "writing stuff down" magic exists, and constantly points out whenever Kvothe says charming sentences of exactly seven words. Elodin uses Fela as an example when explaining to Kvothe why he doesn't get naming...but when Kvothe "forces the issue" near the end of WMF, he doesn't use seven words, and Elodin's romantic lesson remains unlearned.

Elodin is already the dangerous-but-loveable third rail. He clearly doesn't give a rip about his reputation, and knows too much. What if he's playing both sides? What if the ill-fated relationship with Denna is in his interest? Tinfoil hat, I know.
98. coyote_blue
Clarifications: When Kvothe forces the issue with Denna, the lesson remains unlearned.

Elodin doesn't care about his reputation, but would have reason to lie, if he didn't want K and D to compare notes.

I know, I know...the comment box has a preview for a reason. :(
99. dunkinidaho
Jo, first off, thanks for doing this blog. Lurking these posts for the past few months actually inspired me to start rereading Days 1 and 2 just to put me in a better position to contribute to the discussion.

I know the discussion of Master Ash's identity has been beaten to death by this point, but I noticed something interesting during the scene where Kvothe actually "names" him. Preceding "Master Ash" is a litany of random pseudonyms that Kvothe chooses which--being fully aware of Pat's subtle approach to such things--may be more than just mere stabs at his identity. After the truly flippant names are out of the way, we have:

"Federick the Flippant. Frank. Feran. Forue. Fordale..."

The last three are of particular interest since they are so close to "Ferule" it seems like more than just a mere coincidence. In fact, Ferule can be viewed as some type of weird amalgam of the three.

Obviously this favors the "Cinder is Master Ash" camp--of which I'm not a full subscriber to just yet--but the find seemed too juicy to pass by without mentioning. Sorry if someone already came up with this.
100. Valyrian
Yeah, that's been mentioned in one of the posts here already. It's the only thing that still makes me consider Ash = Cinder, even though I still favor Ash = Bredon.

Also (and I apologize for tossing around random ideas here), does anyone else have the impression that Elxa Dal might be Edema Ruh? We don't know enough about him to really make a judgment, but he fits in multiple ways. Kvothe appreciates his showmanship (which he rarely does for non-Ruh) and he dresses like a character from Aturan plays (maybe intentionally?). But what clued me on this is the story he tells Kvothe to persuade him to go chasing the wind. Its main character is Edema Ruh, which is surprising because I don't think common folk would tell stories with such a protagonist, considering their low opinion of them (though it may be said that it's the low opinion of them that led to a Ruh being "cast" as an uneducated person, but that's not the usual Ruh stereotype and he does come out triumphant in the end). But most importantly, it's not an entertaining story. It's more like Kvothe's story about Faeriniel ("stories we tell each other") in that it contains some sort of wisdom.

Of course all of this could be coincidence, but it caught my eye.
101. dunkinidaho

Aha, I should have figured as much considering what an active forum this is. Glad I could at least corroborate that theory a bit.

I like like your Elxa Dal = Edema Ruh idea. I would never have come up with anything along those lines, but the shoe sort of fits. It also seems like a very Rothfussy thing to do with his character.
Andrew Mason
102. AnotherAndrew

It's the only thing that still makes me consider Ash = Cinder, even though I still favor Ash = Bredon.

Can we rule out the possibility that all three of them are the same?
John Graham
103. JohnPoint
Valyrian @100 --

It's an interesting idea, that Elxa Dal might be Ruh. One big issue with it, however, is the exact terminology that Dal uses. In the story, he refers to the boatman as just an "Edema." If you notice, Kvothe always refers to one of his people as "a Ruh" or "a member of the Edema Ruh," and never as just "an Edema." Even after Dal is finished with his story, Kvothe responds, "The Ruh's accent was a little over the top..."

My idea is that the correct term for a person of the Edema Ruh is either the whole name, or just Ruh. This is like how someone from the US state of South Carolina would refer to themself as a "South Carolinian" or "Carolinian" but not just a "South". However, people who aren't from the Ruh (and don't know and Ruh themselves) often refer to them as Edema. He does refer to the markings on their wagons as Edema markings, and their wine as "the wine of the Edema) so I take "Edema" to mean something like "travelling," "performing," or "trouping"

As an aside, that, along with the fact that Alleg didn't push the "wine before water" custom nearly as long as Kvothe indicated it should be pushed -- as his father would have done, for example -- is why I think that Kvothe knew that the false troupe wasn't actually Ruh from the beginning -- early on, after speaking about nicking beer, Alleg says, "one is a bad number for an Edema on the road." I don't think that any true Ruh would have said that, and it's the confirmation for Kvothe that they weren't actually Ruh.
Ashley Fox
104. A Fox
I was going to raise the point of when Hemme makes a derogatory comment about the Ruh, K has to explain it's significance. Dal does not speak up, or seem to be any more aquainted with this reality (rather than history I presume) than the others.

But John's evidence is far more telling, and a great spot.
George Brell
105. gbrell

It's not definitive, but one could certainly interpret the Cthaeh's comment ("I’d say it was a twice-in-a-lifetime-opportunity meeting up with him again.") as implying that Kvothe has only met Cinder twice up to this point (though that could also imply he'll never meet him again).

Kvothe had met Bredon repeatedly prior to this.

Also, if we believe that one of Cinder's signs is foul weather (a conjecture based on the Chandrian sign of thunderstorms, the frozen lake on the Chandrian vase and the unusual rain that accompanies Kvothe's trip the Eld), we could check to see if Bredon was always accompanied by rain/storms/etc. My recollection is that he was not or that it wasn't mentioned.

The big thing that would have to be addressed is how Cinder deals with having eyes with no whites. The description given of him at the bandit camp has him wearing a coif (doesn't cover the face), so he has to be doing something. Then again, one wonders if the prevalence of knacks (at least such that people know about them) would let him write it off.
thistle pong
106. thistlepong
I think we did, here or on Westeros. Bredon's brown eyes and lack of any other signs (cold, unnatural grace) suggest they're not the same. Y'know, despite the possibility of practiced subterfuge. I can't recall the specific definitive refutation, though. gbrell makes a pretty convincing point about meetings. Kvothe makes a similar point in his recognition of cinder at a glance in the rain from a distance.

off topic: Has anyone read the original version of "The Road to Levinshir" and are there any significant diffefrences between the short story and the WMF chapter? And is anyone talented enough to find a digital version of the first chapter of the NW ARC with Skarpi and Chronicler?
107. Valyrian
@JohnPoint and A Fox:
You two raise some valid arguments against the theory.

I think he could explain Dal's silence on the subject during Kvothe's first admission interview that he doesn't like to make his heritage known as well.

The subject of the terms "Edema" vs. "Ruh" is interesting, though. My impression is that Ruh is a noun and Edema an adjective, too (and I like the "travelling" translation most because it could tie in with the assumed shared etymology of Adem - both nomadic - while "trouping" etc. don't fit, unless of course the early Adem were wildly different from those we've seen). I'll pay more attention to both words during my reread.
Sahi Rioth
108. Sahirioth
@ Valyrian (107)
My impression is that Ruh is a noun and Edema an adjective, too (and I like the "travelling" translation most because it could tie in with the assumed shared etymology of Adem...)
I like this as well, though I think it works even if the adjective-noun order is different from English (and instead akin to that of Romance languages, e.g. French, Spanish, Latin etc.). Then it could be that 'Edema' is cognate with or a corruption of "Adem", while 'Ruh' means "travelling" or "exiled" or "singing" (adjective rather than present continuous/past simple verb form) or the like. Or all three, due to the tri-significance of Adem words. (Yes, I know tri-significance is not a word, but I thought it sounded cool, so... I hereby invent thee, "tri-sig".)

In short: Edema Ruh could mean (The) Singing/Travelling/Exiled Adem

Alternatively, if we stick to the order of adjective before noun, it could be that 'Edema' is the corrupted "Ademic" (adjective, not language), and 'Ruh' could still be "performer" or "singer".

In short: Edema Ruh could mean Ademic Singer/Performers

On a related note - is there a set terminology for this, as can be derived from the books? What I'm referring to is whether "Ademic" means both language and ethnicity/nationality (as adjective) or just language (with Adem meaning the Ademic people and "an Adem boy" would mean a boy of said people).
George Brell
109. gbrell

I'm not sure either of your theories can account for Kvothe's use of Edema in the following passage:

"If I weren't lazy, I might go through the work of translating Edamete tass and grow terribly offended when I discover it means 'the Edema Drip.'"
-NotW Chapter 60 (Fortune)

It could be an adjective (substitute Edeme with "French"), but Kvothe wouldn't be offended if it didn't apply specifically to the Edema Ruh. In all fairness, this could just reflect the common usage of Edema to mean Ruh (i.e. Elxa Dal's usage), but it needs to be explained.
John Graham
110. JohnPoint
gbrell @109 : I think Kvothe is directly translating the Siaru to the common tongue, and thus his use of "Edema" is, as you say, a reflection of the common usage of Edema to mean Ruh. Indeed, the usage of "edema" might (theoretically) be another reason that he would be offended -- think: "if you're going to name a sexually transmitted infection after my people, at least call us by the right name!"

I read his whole comment as tongue-in-cheek; he knows what Edamete tass means (or at least can come up with a close approximation), and is alluding to that to diffuse the whole "you're too busy/lazy" discussion, by saying that he would grow terribly offended if he weren't. I think that, even if it is just an adjective, it definitely is used to refer to his people, so his offense (whether real or faked) would certainly be right on track.

Sahirioth @108: that's definitely a potential explaination as well. If Edema refers to a common heritage with the Adem and the Ruh refers to the travelling or performing part of their culture, Kvothe would essentially be saying "the traveller," "the performer, "the trouper" (or whatever it directly translates to) when he refers to a/the Ruh. This might correspond better with his use of "the wine of the Edema" and the Edema markings on the wagons.

Regardless, I think it's pretty clear that Ruh is the correct term to use for a person of the culture (it's what Kvothe always uses himself), and is thus a "flag" for someone who isn't Ruh. It may even be another "secret" custom of the Ruh, like the water-before-wine and other customs mentioned.
John Graham
110. JohnPoint
Double post... deleted.
John Haley
111. Ghrakmaxus
Great usual by all. A couple questions I have for our more studious posters:
1. Why, if Elxa Dal is potentially Edema Ruh, would he tell Kvothe the story about "The Ignorant Edema" if Dal were Edema himself? I know this doesn't disprove he is Ruh, but it's title puts the Ruh in a negative light.
2. Does anyone think that the ring Auri gave Kvothe that "keeps his secrets" is significant to the above ring discussions? (along with all the other Taborlin the great items) I think this could be the ring "unseen/unknown" because it keeps secrets and may be secret, itself. I also think Auri is more than Kvothe presumes her to be (a cracked student) as she seems to know a bit more about the Amyr than a student should know and is in hiding. (from whom is the question)

And a couple of tin foil hat theories:
1. Master Ash/Denna may have met or been in cahoots prior to the event at the Eolian where Deoch sees Denna leave with Master Ash. Why would I think this? It is extremly unique that they Kvothe and Denna meet in all the places that they do as they both travel extensively in WMF. What if Ash is a follower of the chandrian (read Bredon's pagan rituals assuming he is Master Ash) and an "anti-skarpi/Amyr" and is using Denna to both change the history of Lanre and knows of her association with Kvothe?
In a separate vein, How does Skarpi know who Kvothe is in NoTW? If Skarpi knows/names, couldn't the "bad guys" know/name who Kvothe is as well? ....and if they do know who kvothe is or will become, who better to set in his path than a beautiful girl to watch/observe and report to her patron concerning? (so she can get the "writing down magic" to "make it so", wild speculation here is that she is seeking to be able to us the written magic to write her name vs. changing it constantly?) Denna's comment about watching Kvothe being "her job" can be taken many ways...maybe I have taken it too seriously and need to reduce the amount of tinfoil on my head at the moment.
2. What prophecy/information does Vashet know about Kvothe's Adem name? She infers she knows more about his name but will not speak about it. He does get her to tell him the rudimentary meanings of his name, but doesn't go deeper. This mystery confounds me....or maybe I just mis-read this section.
3. When Kvothe sets Bast to break into his "thrice locked chest" and he says after Bast knocks on the wood something to the effect of: "Just out of curiosity Bast, what would you do if something knocked back?" This gave me the thought that either a piece of K's name is locked in the box (just a Iax locked a part of the Moon's name in the "emptiest box" in Hespe's tale) hidden from himself for some reason so that he is "Kote" or possibly he may have other things inside that need the protection of the metal infused wood (Iax's box or even the Lackless box maybe). I believe that this was touched upon in previous posts about the thrice locked chest....more tinfoil please!
3. Denna is the anti-Kvothe is the theory I subscribe to.....this doesn't mean they cannot love/like each other but each of them is going about the task of the meta-battle for the history of Lanre and the Chandrian. Denna is trying to "flip" the Skarpi story version of the Chandrian with her song. Kvothe suscribes to the skarpi version after seeing the results of the Chandrian's tender care/protection of his troupe. (I know we don't "see" the Chandrian kill the troupe, but it is implied in many ways)
Lastly, the Chandrian are evil from Kvothe's perspective (and from my perspective as I am reading from Kvothe's perspective at the moment):
Snippett of proof: The Cthaeh says about the Chandrian in it's encounter with Kvothe: "Cinder is the one you want....Did things to your mother, you know. Terrible. She held up well though. Laurian was always, a trouper,....Much better than your father, with all his begging and blubbering". Yes, the Cthaeh is malicious but it may not be lying about this. It goes on to say "Why? What a good question....Why did they do such nasty things to your poor family? Why, because they wanted to, and because they could, and because they had a reason." In my eyes, this conversation confirmed that the Chandrian were not a force for good or even neutral or protecting folks....unless, of course, there is proof of the Cthaeh lying.
John Graham
112. JohnPoint
Ghrakmaxus @111 --

re your questions:

1) I personally don't think that Elxa Dal is Ruh. It is an interesting speculation, but I don't see any any strong evidence to support it. As I pointed out above, I think his use of the word "Edema" to refer directly to the boatman is evidence that Dal isn't Ruh.

2) This has been well discussed. I think the concensus is that Auri is indeed mysterious, and there is a lot more to her than we know so far. And her ring... well... we'll find out in D3.

Re your tinfoil hat theories:

1) the Master Ash/Denna relationship is definitely curious. We don't really have any proof one way or another, but you're definitely not the only one who reads their relationship that way. If that warrants a tinfoil hat, then there are plenty of others who are buying tinfoil by the roll too.

2) The contents of the thrice-locked chest remain a mystery, and I don't think we have any concensus. the V and H from "Kvothe", his lute, the Lackless box, his shaed and rings, even Denna herself, have all been proposed as potential contents. Again, only D3 will tell (or rather, only Pat will tell. Hopefully he'll tell in D3...)

3) Denna could definitely be the anti-kvothe, or she could be the hero and he's the anti-hero. Or she could be Alinoe and he is Savien. Or... ?

and 4) Cthaeh: we have to be extremely careful how we read its words. Notice that it specifically does not say "Cinder is the one that you want because he did terrible things to your mother...." Etc. Cthaeh cannot lie by word, but definitely could lie by omission/misdirection. Its words are carefully chosen. Perhaps because they are directly and literally true (and Cinder did torture/kill Kvothe's parents etc.), or perhaps they were chosen (and certain ones omitted), so that Kvothe would believe that the Chandrian killed the troupe, when in fact they didn't. Based on the actual words that Cthaeh uses, we cannot be certain.

As someone so eloquently wrote awhile ago (I think it was Shalter...) the actual sentences could have been more like this, "Cinder is the one you want... to ask for information. He tried to prevent it, but the Amyr Did things to your mother, you know.... " Etc. We can't tell what the missing words are, only that they were intended to direct Kvothe to believe that the Chandrian are evil, regardless of the truth. A lie of omission is different from a lie of commission, and we only know that Cthaeh can't commit a lie of commission.

I'd direct you to the whole reread for a lot of discussion on all these points. You'll find quite a bit of speculation on the issues, and quite a bit of well researched analysis...
113. Valyrian
If Elxa Dal is Edema Ruh (and even though I have suggested it, I'm not convinced that he is either - though it remains possible), I don't think there is a problem with the title "the ignorant Edema". While the word "ignorant" might sound negative, it really isn't in the context of the story: he isn't ignorant, he's just ignorant in the things academics would consider important, and quite competent in those which they don't. That's the whole moral of the story after all. So the title can be read in a tongue in cheek way: the protagonist was only ignorant in the eyes of the arcanist.

On the Thrice-locked Chest: the "what would you have done if something knocked back?" reminded me a lot of Jax' knot and how you had to communicate with it to get it open, instead of applying force.
thistle pong
114. thistlepong
This is a quibble, but it's important one. Felurian says the Cthaeh does not lie, not that it can't. We get that from Kvothe remembering later.

We apply a sort if rigorous skepticism to its words, regardless. I'm starting to think it has a meta-purpose. If the infallible oracle can be ambiguous or polysemic, then we should probably attend to other obviously incomplete passages with similar care. The Aleph scene, according to Pat the passage he's happiest with in NW, is a good example. Collectively the reread had decided what happens prior to Kvothe's arrival. And yet the missing information is probably mite significant to the shape of the world than the encounter with Cthaeh.

I need to go back and read gbrell's ring post, but I'm starting to think that the wooden ring Auri gives him is similar to Meluan's, without a name because he doesn't know it, the secret kept his servitude.
Ashley Fox
115. A Fox
Perhaps the third lock is on the inside...:)
Steven Halter
116. stevenhalter
Tinfoil is a very appropriate material for us to be wearing. Tin is the traditional material for Tinkers to work with after all.
Of course, actual tinfoil is a bit rare these days.
118. Valyrian
This is less speculation and more of a question.

It's been established in NotW that even small amounts of blood can confuse someone trying to dowse you out. Otherwise Kvothe's plan with the leaves and the house of the wind after the encounter with the assassins wouldn't work.

That makes me wonder why Kvothe never tried to dowse out himself when he was trying to figure out who was using malfeasance against him. Sure, it could be that the attacker uses hair, but before asking Devi outright whether she sold or used his blood, why didn't he try to locate it? He obviously has his own blood as a starting point. Furthermore, how can Devi hope to keep her blood depot unknown in general?
Steven Halter
119. stevenhalter
Valyrian@118:That's a good question. One answer to Devi's blood depot is people don't need to douse it--the people who gave her their blood know where it's at.
As to why Kvothe didn't try a reverse blood dowse, I guess he just didn't think of it. Or, if Kvothe tried to locate his blood, it would just point to Kvothe, he being the largest source of Kvothe blood around. But, as you point out, if it is just quantity of blood, then the leaves wouldn't work as a decoy. So, I'm back to he just didn't think of it.
Sahi Rioth
120. Sahirioth
@ 118 & 119 - Re: dowsing for blood
I suspect it's not about "largest amount of blood" but rather "closest source of blood". So if Kvothe tried to find whoever had his blood (i.e. Ambrose) it would always point to himself, being the closest source. Thus the leaves/bottles would work to confuse Ambrose.
thistle pong
121. thistlepong
By the time he was dealing with the malfeasance, he'd already scattered his blood two or three times; once in sealed bottles presumably meant to be a semi-permanent solution. So there'd be multiple readings, direction only, all the time. beyond that, he'd always he the closest blood to the compass.

Kvothe knew where his blood was, but he couldn't get past Devi. The rest of her clients wouldn't have a chance.
122. Valyrian
I thought about his own blood getting in the way of it, too, but then that would still leave the option of asking one of his friends to do it.

But I guess Kvothe's behavior can be explained. Even though at least attempting to rule certain people out (or back in - if it had pointed to Ambrose's rooms he would've ended up on top of the suspect list again) is probably a wise course of action whether or not it was going to be successful under this particular circumstances. But he was in a bad place overall, especially mentally, so not thinking things through rationally and forgetting about this option does make sense.

I still don't buy Devi's secret blood storage place. Her words (paraphrased: "you didn't think I would be keeping your blood in my rooms?") imply that this is a usual safety measure. I don't think this was special treatment for Kvothe because he's the only one who could possibly beat her (don't know if you meant to imply that thistlepong). First of all, she doesn't know how strong he is, and more importantly, Devi herself is far from invincible. As Kvothe pointed out once, sympathy is fine but not necessarily a good defense against an armed attacker. So how does she keep the hidden blood hidden? She can't rely on the fact that every client that agrees to such a deal will have multiple leaves with his blood flying around that might impede his ability to locate it.
thistle pong
123. thistlepong
They're interesting questions, Valyrian. I looked into them a bit. While I kind of feel like I'm trying for a No-Prize, I think the following is partially satisfying.

First, any student with a good grasp of basic sympathy could dowse out Devi's, um, bloodbank. However it'd be a slow and approximate process or an expensive one. They'd have to take multiple readings and still only confirm a general location, say the building Devi's rooms are in. Or they'd have to have a portable energy source and/or a fantastically strong alar. Even so, "in this building," or maybe, "in this room," is as close as they'd come. He couldn't build a dowsing compass and I doubt Kilvin allows their construction.

Second, she's not Ambrose rich, but she's got means. If we're spinning out into what she can and can't assume, the, um, bloodbank is probably both magically locked and protected. And she's pretty confident about her Sympathy. She' more angry than afraid when Kvothe pulls out the mommet. It wouldn't matter how strong he is. She is strongest of all. I doubt she's getting a lot of El'the clients, y'know?

As for why Kvothe didn't try... It's all just guesses but it's entirely consistent with his character and explainable by age and circumstances. In our comfy chairs we're all better at this than he is. I mean, Sim and Wil ask why he confronted her alone, implying they could and would have helped...

It does bother me a little that there are some weird inexplicable inconsistencies in the theory and practice of sympathy as presented. But, in this case a wizard literally did it. Heck, we've found simpler errors than that which will be corrected in newer editions.
124. Valyrian
Yeah, I never wanted to imply that it's a "plot hole" per se. I can everything can be explained in a satisfying way, but it's still enough to create a "huh?" moment.

Out of curiosity, what other errors have you discovered? I'm only aware of the trigonometrics question during Kvothe's first admissions interview.
thistle pong
125. thistlepong
Off the top of my head, Ambrose addressed Kvothe by name before he should have, though that has/had already been dealt with. The days didn't square between Tarbean and Imre, which was finally brought to Pat by a translator looking at the timeline...
Jeremy Raiz
126. Jezdynamite
Another couple of potential mistakes:

(1) Kvothe first gains admission on the 43rd of the month of caitelyn (months seem to have 44 days). Then he is brought up onto the horns a few days later on the "4th of caitelyn" - which is the mistake - and is then whipped the following day at noon on the 3rd of equus.

(2) Another I just noticed which might be a mistake: when kvothe's troupe was killed and he first sat at shandi's fire and saw the potatoes in the pot simmering away and the kettle boiled: why weren't the kettle and pot rusted like the spokes on the wagon wheel?

Unless the kettle and pot weren't made from iron? Or maybe objects in contact with water or heat don't rust in the presence of the chandrian? Or the Chandrian that makes things rust didn't come near Shandi's campfire? Perhaps it can easily be explained and its not a mistake.
Steven Halter
127. stevenhalter
Congrats Jo on the World Fantasy award nomination for Among Others!
Andrew Mason
128. AnotherAndrew
Hear hear!

And copper kettles are a very traditional thing.
thistle pong
129. thistlepong
Congratulations, Jo!

...working on the timeline again...

How long do y'all reckon it took to build the Waystone? Kvothe's been in Newarre for about a year. The Waystone is his. There are a few references to its construction, including the fireplace in the center of Kvothe's otherwise spartan room.

I ask 'cause he contracted with Graham for the mounting board, including fronting him a sizable amount of gold, four months prior to the opening. It's easy to forget that's half a year in the 4c. I reckon he probably ordered it as soon as he had a plce to hang it; around the beginning of spring.

It correlates alright with the six friend coming every Felling night "for months" rather than a year.
Sahi Rioth
130. Sahirioth
@ Thistlepong, 129 - re: timeline
Hold on... 4 months = half a year? 4C has "spans" instead of weeks, right? 1 span = 11 days, 1 month = 4 span (44 days), 4 months = 176 days. We know 4C-days have 24 hours (don't we?), and an hour seems to be as long as one in our world. But do we know how many days/months are in a 4C-year? If 8 months, then you're correct, as a year in the 4C would be 352 days (or perhaps 365 days, so 8 months and a bit). Consider, however: If a 4C-year is exactly 8 4C-months, then it is 2 "Earth-weeks" shorter than an "Earth-year". Being 26 years old in the 4C would then mean you're only 25 years old in Earth-time. If a 4C-year is more than 8 months (and a bit), that could mean that the events of the story retold by Kvothe happened "longer ago" than 2 years, as we think of them.

Concerning the Waystone inn: It belongs to Kvothe. It is his, with emphasis on 'his'. But did he build it all, or did he buy an already constructed building? (I'm not questioning you here, I just can't remember if Rothfuss ever explicitly or implicitly states that Kvothe BUILT the inn, so I'm asking for a quote to confirm/deny.) Perhaps Kvothe added buildings/rooms? He did modify it, at least Bast's room, and there has been speculation that he somehow wove magic into it (perhaps copper-related, thus resulting in the oppressive silence reminiscent of that in Elodin's room in the Rookery).
thistle pong
131. thistlepong
Yes. A 4c year is eight months. Most of the translations, if not all, include an index detailing days, spans, months, &c. (Which was kind of aggravating after putting in all the work establishing most of it from the text.)

See, three chapters into NW the reader us treated to K's ownership and his pride over the difficult engineering on the second floor fireplace. So right off we assume he built it. If there's evidence to the contrary I'd be overjoyed to see it, now. I'll find it as I continue reading, but I find my recall needs refreshing.

I do know there's no textual evidence linking the Waystone to Haven.
George Brell
132. gbrell
Small question:

When Kvothe and Elodin are in the Rookery, Elodin mentions "the royal palace." (Apparently the Rookery is comparable to it in size). I would assume he'd be referring, in order of likelihood, to the royalty of the Commonwealth OR the royalty of his own land. But have we ever been given any evidence that the Commonwealth has kings? Or what nationality Elodin claims?
thistle pong
133. thistlepong
The Shald is a monarchy, ruled by a king.
Atur is a monarchy, ruled by a king.
Modeg is a monarchy, ruled by a king (probably a High King?)
Vintas is a monarchy, ruled by a king.
The Commonwealth is a... commonwealth with a governing body situated in Tarbean.

No recollection of ewlodin Elodin claiming a nationality.
Sahi Rioth
134. Sahirioth
Thanks, Thistlepong - it's been a while since I (re-)read the books, so it's hardly surprising that the stuff right at the beginning slips my mind first.

Regarding the nations: What's the "Shald"? I must've missed that completely. Unless it's (the) Ceald? Not having an audiobook, I always sort of assumed it's pronounced 'sailed' or 'caled'. Though now that I think of it, 'shald' seems to make more sense since the slang is 'shim', isn't it? Also, the term 'cealdim' pops up somewhere, doesn't it? Can someone remind me of what it means?
thistle pong
135. thistlepong
Ceald, except on the map, always refers to individuals. Cealdish is used in contexts indicating where individuals (or objects) are from or their ethnicity. The Shald is used in reference to the geopolitical area.
The truth was, my troupe had never gone so far north as to make it into the Shald.
Wil came from a wealthy merchant family in the Shald.
I suppose I should adhere to the names on the map... But, y'know, nobody likes that thing anyway.

Pronuciations are:
Ceald - like sealed \?s?l\
Shald - rhymes with walled \?w?l\

You're probably thinking of:
In the manor houses of the Cealdim and in the workshops of the Cealdar...
Other bits in the text suggest and support a separation between nobility (kings of the Cealdim) and revered craftspeople.
136. Pathology
Comment about the Silence and Bast. It seems that the Silence bothers Bast most when K is close (in the same room?) but not when he isnt. When K pauses in his story and the silence lenghtens Bast becomes terrified; but when K is in his room (or was he outside, sorry I dont recall) and Bast is making his wine concoction he just seems bored. This suggests the silence eminates from K himself (i.e. his hands) and not from some influence by the Waystone building (ie copper mesh walls). But, what is it about the Silence that unnerves Bast? What does he think will happen if its prolonged? What aspect of the Silence would frighten a Fae?

I havent seen this posted, but its likely to have been what with everyone's careful analysis. My apologies if I this is so.
Tim Kington
137. TimKington
Great job on all of this, Jo! I just found out about the reread a few weeks ago, and it has taken me this long to catch up.

The crazy theories I've come up with:

"This is my doom upon you. Your own name will be turned against you,
that you shall have no peace. This is my doom upon you and all who
follow you."

Maybe this could be about Haliax's reputation? Selitos could be controlling the stories people will tell about the Chandrian - sort of similar to what Kvothe threatens with Felurian, and the way he messes with Chronicler. Is this a hint that they aren't really as bad as people say? Denna's song could also related to this.

Folly's description:
"It looked as if an alchemist had distilled a dozen swords"
What if this is because Kvothe Shaped the sword using a Name for Sword? It would be the very essence of a sword then.

"Te rhintae?" I don't think I've seen this in the zillions of posts, but I probably missed it. Is the skinchanger asking Kvothe if he's one of the Chandrian?
thistle pong
138. thistlepong
Welcome to the discussion, TimKington. I dount anyone expects new folks to read 3-4000 posts before saying hello and talking about the books, but thanks for the effort. I'm tackling your list in reverse order.

3. I'm sure it's in there somewhere, if only 'cause I think that's at least close to whatever the whatsitsname is saying. There are several posts that consider rhinata/rhintae/rhinna/rhinta and shalter's Imaginary Linguistics thread, linked above, touches on it. Folks tend to argue over whether the rhin- prefix has more to to with knowledge, shape, or man and that tends to affect how they translate the mercenary's words.

2. The Names we've seen so far are, for lack of a better term, kind of elemental: iron, fire, stone, wood, water, wind, maybe ice and blood. The only exceptions seem to be individuals: Lanre, Selitos, Felurian. With that in mind, it seems more likely, if he used Naming, that he figured out what those particular Adem swords were made of. On the other hand, iirc nothing has specifically contradicted the possibility af Names like Sword. Still, the text mentions Alchemy. Pat can hide quite a bit in our ignorance.

1. I like this interpretation. It puts the Amyr in an active role regarding the Seven. In effect, it gives them something to do. And it's something we have vague evidence for even in the story present.
139. RG258
I agree with Valyrian that he will likely name Copper in D3, so the question is how (if no one else can?) and why (doors of stone? defeating Haliax?) As to the how...

The Name of Copper

Copper is clearly important, as has been discussed quite thoroughly, and mentioned by PR himself (copper knife useful against a Namer). So, why would anything be useful against a Namer? It would have to give you some advantage against them, and really the only way to do that would be if they couldn't Name the object. Hence, copper likely doesn't have a Name (or it's not possible to see/say the Name).

One story we get details on, is Elodin's cell, which is described as having a pure copper door, a copper infused window, and a copper mesh within the stone walls (although this last part was added after his original escape). Now, originally, he broke the wall like Taborlin, saying "BREAK" and presumably the wall broke and he left. However, when he tried to recreate that moment for Kvothe, it didn't work. Elodin paused, then touched the wall in amusement (getting a feel for a slightly different name?), comments that it was half-clever, and then says a different name (CYAER-BASALIEN) that caused the wall to "...fall. Like dark water poured from a bucket, tons of fine sand spilled across the floor..." exposing the copper mesh. They then physically broke and moved the copper mesh. So whatever name Elodin called did nothing to the copper, it merely moved the stone out of the way. This is in line with our assumptions, since if he could call the name of copper (or something infused with copper) he could have just removed the door.

So I would guess that this establishes that even a fairly accomplished Namer does not know the Name of copper (and that perhaps there isn't one).

So how does he do it? As previously mentioned, it's likely becuase he doesn't know that he can't, which has been foreshadowed a few ways:

1) Denna's music being slightly different. "But instead, she simply walked through the walls. She didn't know any better. Nobody had ever told her she couldn't. Because of this, she moved through the city like some faerie creature. She walked roads no one else could see, and it made her music wild and strange and free."

2) When he finished Sir Savien with a broken lute string. "Without knowing what I did, I set my fingers back to the strings and feel deep into myself. Into years before, when my hands had calluses like stones and my music had come as easy as breathing. Back to the time I had played to make the sound of Wind Turning a Leaf on a lute with six strings."

Threpe then shares his thoughts from the moment "There's a brave boy. Too brave. He doesn't know he can't save the end of a broken song with a broken lute. But you did!"

(Also find the 'end of a broken song with a broken lute' an interesting choice of words, considering the broken house at the broken road)

So he Names copper because he doesn't know that you can't, but I also don't think it will be as simple as that. I think it likely that he will Name it via music, as only he can do, given his history and talents. (and it will likely lead to whatever horrible thing happened)
140. Thurule
Sorry to bust in and go off topic, but I was fortunate enough to meet Pat at GenCon this weekend and had him sign my Kindle. Being as gracious and good natured as usual, I had him sign it with our favorite saying - "Is it Day three yet?"
Jeremy Raiz
141. Jezdynamite
That's great Thurule. I had a good chuckle at that this morning.
thistle pong
142. thistlepong
What does this mean?
“How much mercury would it take to reduce two gills of white sulfur?”

And what does Kvothe's answer mean?
“Assuming you mean red sulfur, it would be about forty-one ounces. Sir.”

And what kind of question is it? Hemme, Master Rhetorician, is the interlocutor. It's characteristic of his verbal trickery. However, Kvothe's answer would probably fall under Arwyl (Medica) or more likely Mandrag (Alchemist).

Casual skimming of the tubes suggests Kvothe's answer is overwhelmingly too much mercury for any useful or even moderately poisonous biological operation. But, of course, I'm no physician. By the same lazy analytics, Kvothe answers poorly if it's a chemistry question.

Which leaves alchemy. Either he also flubs there or he knows more about alchemy in the story than he's letting on.
George Brell
143. gbrell
“How much mercury would it take to reduce two gills of white sulfur?”

The term reduce here is confusing. Reduction has a specific meaning in chemistry related to gaining electrons and the reduction of an elements' oxidation number.

My first guess is that "white sulfur" and "red sulfur" refer to various sulfides. Especially because sulfur in its standard form (S_8) is yellow, though it can express a variety of different colors in various different state.

However, the classic sulfur oxides are all gases, so we turn to the next idea. "Red sulfur" might be an Iron-Sulfur compound, since there are at least two compounds with that basic formula that are or can be red: troilite (FeS) and pyrite (FeS_2). The problem, however, is that mercury forms alloys with almost all metals, except for iron. So mercury wouldn't be able to reduce "red sulfur" at all (assuming red=iron containing).

This leaves us with two more possibilities, either a different sulfur-metal mixture (CoSO_4 for example) or an organosulfide, of which there are thousands. Either way, some internet searching hasn't turned up an obvious answer and most references to "red sulfur" appear to be alchemical rather than chemical.

While the amounts you mentioned are certainly large (41 ounces would be almost three pounds), the issue of scaling in chemistry just isn't that difficult. Kvothe's already shown a facility with numbers and the calculation doesn't change (though in practice it would). Kvothe's answer to the question regarding phosphorus also demonstrates a rather impractically large quantity.

Hemme, as Mastor Rhetorician, asking the question just seems to confirm his "high king bastard" status.
thistle pong
144. thistlepong
Thanks, gbrell.

I'm pretty convinced it's an alchemy question. The red sulfur in the question is mercury sulfide, or cinnabar. White sulfur I'm still unclear on. Reduction refers to calcination. Still not entirely clear on the actual process and the quantities.

I've mentioned a couple times how frustrating our general ignorance of alchemy is and how he's pretty confident in that ignorance, so I've started looking into it. Picking up alchemy isn't riding a bike, though...
Steven Halter
145. stevenhalter
Mercury Sulfide (HgS) is what comprises Cinnabar--the common ore from which mercury is extracted. It is most usually red in color. Molton sulfur is red in color, and I guess if you combined molton (red) sulfur and mercury you would end up with Mercury Sulfide. If they combined perfectly, an equal
The Molar mass of S = 32.065 g/mol
The Molar mass of Hg = 200.59 g/mol
28.3495 grams/ounce means that 41 ounces would be 1162.3 grams of Mercury or 5.79 moles of Mercury. 5.79 moles of Sulfur would weigh 185.65 grams or 6.55 ounces.
A gill is 4 fluid ounces so 2 gills of liquid sulfur would be 8 fluid ounces of sulfur and that would be 236.58 ml of liquid sulfur.
Molton sulfur is 111.8 Lbs./Cu. Ft. @ 275 degrees F. 1 Cu. Ft. =
28316.8 ml and 1 pound = 453.59237 grams, so that's 1.79 gm/ml for liquid sulfur and so we have 423.48 gm of sulfur or 13.20 moles of sulfur. The numbers don't seem to match for a simple conversion of HgS, so either that's not what they were discussing or their conversion factors (gills or ounces) are different or Kvothe was just bluffing.

It looks like in Alchemy, sulfur is referred to as the Red King and is associated with the sun while Mercury is called the White Queen and is associated with the moon. So, that's kind of interesting in the scope of the story.
thistle pong
146. thistlepong
Thanks for the chemistry, shalter. That's much further than I took it. I think he's using alchemy as is, similar to the way he uses sympathetic magic with a few tweaks. But he's also employing literary alchemy and alchemical symbolism.
Steven Halter
147. stevenhalter
Yeah, he's combing a lot of interesting things in interesting ways. From that little exchange, we've got a hidden moon reference and some interesting alchemy chemistry.

In case anyone is wondering, from XKCD a couple weeks ago, 1 mole of the eastern mole (Scalopus aquaticus) weighs about 4.45 x 10^22 kg or a little over half the mass of our moon. So, there's another moon reference for you. Maybe Iax used a mole of moles for the object that moves between Fae and 4C world.
George Brell
148. gbrell

Red Sulfur being HgS (which I'll accept) actually makes the question kind of nonsensical. The question is assuming the existence of another element (presumably pure sulfur). The way that shalter is reading the question appears to be: "How much mercury would it take to create red sulfur from two gills of pure sulfur?" But that is a tortured reading of the question.

And as shalter ably demonstrates, the stoichiometry of such an equation doesn't make sense.

Now, if we instead read the question as "How much mercury would it take to precipitate two gills of red sulfur?" (reading "reduce" as "precipitate"), the stoichiometry still falls apart. Ignoring the fact that you wouldn't use gills to refer to a non-liquid, 2 gills (UK) of red sulfur at 8.1 g/cm^3 would be 2300.4 g. 41 oz of mercury would be 6583.9 g.

But what I actually think is being quizzed is not Kvothe's knowledge of chemical relationships, but his knowledge of rote formula. He memorizes the chemicals in Abenthy's cart and it's likely that he memorized methods for obtaining those chemicals, which almost certainly are not perfectly efficient. I can imagine that Hemme would feel confident asking someone to recall a common distillation equation, particularly since red sulfur was a common source of red pigment.

This is probably another example of the Pythagorean theorem problem.
thistle pong
149. thistlepong
It could be. I suppose we could try pointing it out and see it we get the, "I'll have to make sure that's changed in future editions," response. But I don't think it is.

I realize I'm off the res taking alchemy seriously, but I think you and shalter demonstrate pretty conclusively that thinking about it terms of straight chemistry is a dead end. We're better off exploring how alchemy is represented in the text and how its symbolism is deployed.
"Everyone thinks chemistry and alchemy are so similar, but they're really not. They're not even related. They just happen to live in the same house."
John Graham
150. JohnPoint
Pat just posted pics on his blog of a 4C globe that a friend gave him. Question: does that confirm that the 4C is a sphere?
Andrew Mason
151. AnotherAndrew
The globe doesn't look at all accurate to me. It seems to have the 4C taking up half the world, and the rest as open sea. As far as I can see it doesn't leave room for the ocean of sand beyond the eastern mountains; and it would imply that the equator runs through the 4C, which doesn't fit what we know of the climate. So I think it's being displayed just as a cool thing, not as evidence for anything.
Steven Halter
152. stevenhalter
Speaking of asking possibly Pat questions, is anyone else going to be at Worldcon? (I will be there)
thistle pong
153. thistlepong
How fast can you take notes, shalter? Have a great time.

Chemsitry/Alchemy again... this time the draccus. Any help would be appreciated. I did the requisite googling, comparing and contrasting with my nutritional and budding alchemical experience.
“Back before modern mining people probably hunted them for their iron. Even nowadays I’m guessing an alchemist would pay a pretty penny for the scales or bones. Organic iron is a real rarity. They could probably do all sorts of things with it.”

And the scales and bones. Hundreds of pounds of denatured iron that alchemists would have fought over…. (underlining/itallics mine)
One way of looking at it might be that they're the same. Technically digested iron is also denatured. Another might be that they're distinct descriptors of the draccus's iron an that it's both living iron and bioavailable as well as having been digested and coagulated. But I'm probably missing something obvious to the math folks... Any thoughts?

So far I can locate alchemical references to organic iron back to the sixteenth century, so that bit isn't out of line. And the draccus is sort of performing an alchemical purification of iron over and over again according to Kvothe's descriptions in those chapters, which is fairly amusing.
Jo Walton
154. bluejo
Shalter: I will be at Chicon. Anyone else? We could all meet up and exchange crazy speculation about Elodin and the moon.
Steven Halter
155. stevenhalter
I'm always up for a bit of chasing the moon and the wind.

Heh--I just wrote that as a fun play, but it occurs to me that that is just what Jax was doing--rather than chasing the wind in approved Elodin fashion, he was chasing the moon.
In any case, I'm in.
Jeremy Raiz
156. Jezdynamite
Shalter, bluejo: I'd love to come. But, unfortunately a large ocean separates us. Have fun meeting up and I hope you have a great time chasing the wind (in the windy city).
George Brell
157. gbrell
Randomly, I will be in Chicago starting Monday evening. Just in time to miss all the festivities. Jo, I'll be rooting for you.
158. glerf
Hi. I've really enjoyed reading all the speculation concerning these books on this website, so thanks everyone for giving me so many things to think about!

One thing I've been surprised to see lacking though, is my own theory about the singers. E'lir means seer, Re'lar means speaker, I'm not sure what El'the means, probably listener or hearer, but it seems to me that a natural progression would be first seeing names, even if only from the corner of your eyes so to speak, then learning to actually speak a name. Then knowing how to listen for new names. Eventually, it seems natural that one would reach a rank high enough to actually sing names, denoting a certain amount of facility with their usage.

Furthermore, it seems odd that speculation surrounding the center of all knowledge and keeper of a million mysteries in the four corners tends to give the university a rather tame role in the greater drama of the chandrian. Things have changed at the university, but I think it's very likely that, just as the amyr either went into hiding, or were never what the world supposed in the first place, the singers have become a secret society within the university. Most likely Elodin is the head of this society of whisperers, though my theory is that the other masters are unaware, except perhaps Lorren, who seems a very good candidate for singerhood.

I was convinced for several chapters that elodin and Manet were the same character. What changed my mind was the introduction of Puppet. Could these eccentric, seemingly mad characters be singers, hidden within the powerful places of the university to scout new talent and report to elodin? It certainly seems the case with Manet in the fishery. It even almost seems that elodin is trying to tell Kvothe this very thing when he asks him about spades.

I'd also like to put forth a crazy theory about Denna, that I don't really even half believe, but which all the same makes an odd sort of sense. It seems I recall felurian saying that no men were ever amyr. Specifically men, not human beings. Could it be that no men were real Amyr because the job opportunity was open only to women? Denna certainly seems machiavellian enough, could she be Amyr? Or at least Amyr in training? Could Kvothe be an assignment of hers? It's clear when Kvothe explains his scars to Denna that she, like he, is not willing to give up on a piece of knowledge that she needs because of a simple beating. So then what is it she truly wants from her patron? Surely not just money and security, if that was all she could have had a different and better patron at any time.

Either way, though, and off topic, I really hope that Kvothe ends up with Auri. PR should have added a forth thing that all wise men fear, the affections of a capricious woman. Auri on the other hand is the type to be there for you for ever. Team Auri all the way.
Andrew Mason
159. AnotherAndrew
One striking thing about the singers is that Kvothe doesn't seem concerned about them. He hears Haliax saying 'Who protects you from the Amyr, the singers, the Sidhe?', and he thinks 'Good heavens, the Amyr! I thought they were all dead! What can he be talking about?' and sets off on a quest for the Amyr. But he doesn't say 'Good heavens, the singers! What can that mean?' (I'm supposing everyone knows about the Sidhe, and that, as they are Fae, it's obvious they are still alive.)

I think this supports the view that the singers are not something secret. I can see two interpretations that would fit this - that they are the winged avengers ('angels' for short) of Skarpi's story (whose existence may be common knowledge even if their origin isn't - two of them, Ordal and Andan, are regularly invoked in prayers) or that they are just singers - Haliax protetcts the Chandrian from people who sing songs about them. (They might also be the leaders of the Tahl, but it's not clear why they would be a threat to the Chandrian.)
160. glerf
The Chandrian had enemies. If I could find them, they would help me. I had no idea who the singers or the Sithe were, but everyone knew that the Amyr were church knights, the strong right hand of the Aturan Empire. Unfortunately, everyone also knew that there had been no Amyr in three hundred years. They had been disbanded when the Aturan Empire collapsed.
Rothfuss, Patrick (2008-04-01). The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One (p. 214). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.

It's not that he discounts the other two, it's that he's never heard of them. Obviously he'd never heard of the sithe because they operate in fey, but the fact that he doesn't pay much mind to the singers actually makes me more certain that they're the most important of the three, plotwise, because that just seems to be how PR works. A little hint and then time enough to forget it before the next clue comes.
thistle pong
161. thistlepong
Since there are powerful singers mentioned in the text unaffiliated with the University, pointed out by AnotherAndrew above, it seems both unlikely and unnecessary that there be a secret cabal helmed by Elodin.

The singers are porbably Tehlu and his Pals, empowered in "Tehlu's Watchful Eye," given the similarities between Cinder's reactions in the Eld and the Chandrian following the troupe massacre.

If that's the case, yah, they're pretty important. Chronicler even suggests Kvothe comes into conflict with one of 'em.

I got the impression that Kvothe sought out the Amyr 'cause of Skarpi's story. Heck, if SusanLoyal was right, he might have been compelled. I doubt he knew about the Sithe. Other than Haliax's comment, they only appear in the frame as a reality. If he had, it would've been via fairy stories, which he didn't take seriously until Felurian.

Oh, and gbrell quoted this in the other thread:
“there were never any human amyr,” she said, dismissing the idea out of hand. “those you speak of sound like children dressing in their parents’ clothes.”
162. glerf
well, wrong about the crazy denna theory then. I do still think she's on a very similar trek to Kvothe, however, and I still strongly suspect that what she hopes to gain from her patron is much more than musical patronage.

As far as my other idea goes, I'm familiar with the brief Tahlenwald passage. Most of that chapter is foreshadowing Kvothe's run in with the false ruh, and then Sim asks where everyone would go if they could go anywhere. Wil says the faerie court and Kvothe says Tahlenwald where the leaders are singers rather than warriors and can cure diseases and make trees dance with their music. Their are two other mentions of the Tahl, one in the boy with the golden screw story, where the boy goes to the witch women of the Tahl to try and learn the secret behind the screw. The other is a mention by Penthe of the Adem that if she caught a venereal disease she would go to the tahl and have it cured.

The placement of the first mention is so jarring that it's clearly important, and I'll admit it's a likely candidate for the home of the singers, however, the tahl seem to be powerful doctors more than anything, and I feel dissatisfied with the idea that Haliax and the rest are terrified of healers. Furthermore, the tahl is extremely far away from the place near tarbean where the troupe is destroyed. The University however is a mere forty miles away. In fact it seems that the university is the closest place of power, if you will, and that if help was on it's way, the university would be a convenient place of origin. Especially if it was full of singers.

Oh, and Tehlu, selitos and the rest are most likely not the singers since the story you mentioned labels them as the Amyr:

Selitos went to Aleph and knelt before him. “I must refuse, for I cannot forget. But I will oppose him with these faithful Ruach beside me. I see their hearts are pure. We will be called the Amyr in memory of the ruined city. We will confound Lanre and any who follow him. Nothing will prevent us from attaining the greater good.”
Rothfuss, Patrick (2008-04-01). The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One (p. 208). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.
163. glerf. It'
Sorry to repost but there's one other thing that bothers about the idea of the Tahl being the singers. It's not so much that I feel it would be too obvious, it's more that I feel it should be more obvious to Kvothe. He's never forgotten about the sithe, the singers, and the Amyr. It seems like if there were any reason for that connection to be made, Kvothe would have already jumped on it. He doesn't go after the sithe and the singers because he doesn't know who they are. He does, however, know that there are powerful singers in the Tahl.

Don't get me wrong, if I have one criticism about this book, it's how Kvothe can be so clever 99 per cent of the time and still be so thick when the obvious is right in front of him. For instance, with his Aunt Meluan. A while back, a friend of mine came around with a new boyfriend who seemed vaguely familiar to me. I asked him what his last name was and he said it was long and polish. I then told him his last name. As it turned out he was a friend I had known in fourth grade twenty years ago. That's all it took for me, a vague resemblance to the boy he was, a first name and a hint of his last and I recognized someone I hadn't spared a thought for in twenty years...well, that and an alar like ramston steel. But seriously, how could Kvothe fail to put together all the facts he knows and come to the same conclusion as all the readers?

I guess my point is if the Tahl is the home of the singers, than this book isn't as good as I hope it is. Kvothe has been obsessing about that line of dialogue for years now, and it seems like nonsense for him to never spare even a stray thought to wondering about the singers and the sithe on top of the Amyr. Thus, I hope that when Kvothe journeys to Tahlenwald he finds something other than the singers. I hope that Rothfuss is playing a beautiful game with me and that the obvious is not as obvious as it seems. Why would I want to read anything other than a beautiful book?
George Brell
164. gbrell

Oh, and Tehlu, selitos and the rest are most likely not the singers since the story you mentioned labels them as the Amyr...

It labels Selitos and those who follow him as the Amyr. Tehlu and those who follow him are different:

Most of the Ruach hung back from Selitos, too. They were afraid, and they did not wish to become involved in great matters.
But Tehlu stood forward saying, "I hold justice foremost in my heart. I will leave this world behind that I might better serve it, serving you." He knelt before Aleph, his head bowed, his hands open at his sides.
Others came forward. ...
Then Aleph spoke their long names and they were wreathed in a white fire. The fire danced along their wings and they became swift. The fire flickered in their eyes and they saw into the deepest hearts of men. The fire filled their mouths and they sang songs of power. Then the fire settled on their foreheads like silver stars and they became at once righteous and wise and terrible to behold. Then the fire consumed them and they were gone forever from mortal sight.

What's interesting about this passage is that it's almost the exact same language that describes Kvothe when he bests Felurian through singing. He is described as having a similar white star on his forehead.
165. glerf
you're right, I definitely misread that. Tehlu and the others do seem to be the original singers, even thought one of them never sings. I just have to hope you're wrong about the tahl. There are a lot of things in these books that I'm delaying judgement on. The third book will have to give very good explanations for a lot of things to avoid being a good read despite occasional sloppiness, rather than the cream of the crop sort of fantasy I'm hoping for.
166. Marco.
@163, Regarding Kvothe being thick about figuring things out:

Don't forget, in the frame he's a story teller and may be actively concealing things for the "big reveal" later. I think he actually told the Chronicler something to that effect. He may very well have had a clue about Auntie Meluan, but it doesn't make as good of a story if he gives it away on their first encounter as it would when she finds out as well.
167. Argee
How do you contain/imprison a Namer? Copper seems the obvious answer, but even then there doesn't seem to be an effective method. They tried a copper room with Elodin, and he broke the wall. The rebuilt it with copper imbedded within the wall, and he broke it again with Kvothe watching. Perhaps an entirely copper room could do it, or perhaps... poisoning?

Perhaps the method of the Maer's poisoning wasn't random, indeed there are any number of ways that he could have been poisoned that Kvothe would have been able to recognize from this University training, and thus made himself helpful. However, it was specifically metal poisoning. Perhaps a clue? Maybe Kvothe has been copper poisoned (or poisoned himself). What better way to mess with a Namer than to infuse copper into their very veins? If being in a copper room gives off the weird feeling Elodin/Kvothe experience, surely having it within you would throw you off signficiantly? Maybe this is why Kvothe can't open his thrice-locked chest?

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