Feb 14 2013 2:00pm

Rothfuss Reread: Speculative Summary 19: Each Woman Is Like An Instrument

Rothfuss Re-read Speculative Summary 18: A Good Cloak

My obsessively 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. But we welcome new people who have read the books and want to geek out about them. 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.

This is the first of what’s going to be a mini-series of posts about women in the books.

First—I think that NW and WMF are way better than most books about all of this stuff; there are more women and they are better integrated than normal. That doesn’t make them perfect. I’m not attacking here, I’m writing from a perspective of thinking they really are better than normal, but still with some problems.

Today we’re going to think about women in the frame.

What women in the frame, you ask yourself? Exactly.

We’ve talked about hierarchies of trust in these books, and layers of narrative. Anything Kvothe tells us is suspect, and when Kvothe quotes somebody telling him something, that’s even more suspect. We have most of our information about the world from Kvothe’s narrative, but there is also information in the frame. And in the frame we have three significant characters, and they all happen to be men.

There’s no reason for them to be.

Kvothe is who he is, and we’ve already talked about how this would be a very different book from Denna’s POV. (Maybe in another inn in another part of the wood, D is telling her story to a female chronicler, helped out by a female Fae?) But Rothfuss decided to give us Kvothe’s story, and even though women can do things in this world, he’s male. There are lots and lots of plot reasons, from D on outwards, for him to be male, and I suspect it’s pretty essential for Rothfuss’s conception of Kvothe and who he is, in contrast to D and so on.

We’ve seen women working in inns, we’ve seen women studying arcane arts, and we’ve seen women in Fae, so there’s no reason inherent to the world that Bast has to be male. There’s also no plot reason visible so far. So that’s another choice.

Maybe a woman wouldn’t be able to travel safely alone the way Chronicler does—not that he’s safe, he’s used to having his possessions stolen, but he’s not risking as much. But women go to the University, women write books, women tell stories. I don’t see any plot reasons so far that Chronicler has to be male.

There’s no reason for any of them to be female either, and they’re not. All male.

The regulars in the Waystone are also all men, even though we have seen inns with women in them—Hespe and D when travelling at least. There’s no indication that there’s a cultural thing here the way there was in South Wales in my childhood where no respectable woman would be seen dead in a pub—the Bentley family come in, the ones with the sheep, and the mother takes the kid to the bathroom and leaves the baby with K and Bast. You wouldn’t get that if it was a “women don’t go in” thing. So women can go in, but we don’t see them doing it except for that one time, and all the regulars are men.

Mary Bentley and her little girl who needs the bathroom are the only women we actually see in the frame. Others are mentioned—Shep’s young widow, Aaron’s mother, the widow Bast’s supposedly leaving his money to, and all the girls Bast dances with and kisses. (Maybe he is related to Felurian. Or maybe they’re all like that?) But Mary and her little girl are the only ones we see in the frame. The frame isn’t all that big as a proportion of the whole thing. But it’s what’s the most reliable, and it’s what we get first. And it has just two women in it, a mother taking a little girl to the bathrom.

When I do my character workshops in cons, when I’m talking about minor characters I suggest that people ask themselves when they’re thinking about the character, “Is it more interesting for them to be male or female? Young or old? From the mainstream culture or from a different culture? Gay or straight?” Not better, more interesting. What’s going to make them more interesting as a character?

This is great when you have time to expand your characters and make them interesting. But say you have somebody bring the protagonist a drink. You don’t have room to make them interesting and flesh them out. Sometimes making them interesting would give them too much significance, draw too much attention to them. They’re still there. Say their story function is to say “Here’s your drink,” and distract the protagonist from their brooding so that they can go off in a new direction. The standard person would be—well, that depends on the setting. A barmaid, a waitress, a waiter, an innkeeper, old, young, human, alien, gay, straight, male, female—they’re not going to do any more in the story than put down that drink. But if they say “Here’s your drink, sir,” that’s one kind of person, and if they say “Here’s your drink, sugar,” that’s another kind, and you have a better story if you know what they say, even if that’s all they’re going to say before they disappear off the page, because the way the protagonist will be distracted from their thoughts will be different.

If the protagonist watches the old waiter staggering off with a tray and wonders how long he’s been doing that, gathering up glasses every night, and decides not to get into a rut like that? If the protagonist gets a sexual buzz from the server and really isn’t sure how to deal with that so gets up to leave? (Michel Tremblay has a great book called The Black Notebook about a waitress in an all night diner who’s a midget whose customers are almost all drag queens.)

And I think it’s useful and important to avoid the default expectations, say, a young black waitress in an IHOP and an old white innkeeper in a country pub, because when you go with default settings you get things that are bland, and also you get things that perpetuate the stereotypes, and also you get things that are leaning on the default sexist/racist/ablist/homophobic settings that are built into our culture. On the top of our minds we can have a lot of good intentions and a lot of conscious thoughts about what we’re doing, but our sleeping minds were programmed in the past by people with other assumptions, and so when we go for cultural default that’s what tends to fall out. We can be better than that, but it takes a bit of effort and attention. (I am far from always living up to my ideals in this case. Far.) But even without any of that, even for somebody who didn’t care at all and thought that all the bad stuff was just peachy, even then going with the defaults is sloppy and leads to cliches.

Now Rothfuss has built this world so that it’s a lot like the standard imagination of a fantasy world, like a late Renaissance with loads of magic but without gunpowder. And the status of women generally is very interesting and well thought through. Except among the Adem, it’s generally higher than it was in equivalent historical periods, with more freedom, but still restricted compared to men. Women have quite a lot of options and quite a lot of freedom. We see women working in inns, helping run businesses, trading on the river, and attending the University.

That last one is very interesting. Women can attend the University, but (WMF, the chapter when they break into Ambrose’s rooms, source Mola/Fela/Devi) they have to all live in the same commons whether they want to or not. Male students can live in commons or they can take rooms in inns or they can sleep under hedges—women have to live in this one dorm, and there’s a curfew. This is very like the situation in Oxford and Cambridge... in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Before that, in real historical Europe, if you were female you could only study privately. Universities were for men only.

But even though we see women doing these things, which I will write about another time, and even though we have the Adem culture with its interesting conscious examination of women, which I will write about another time, and we have Mola and Fela and Devi (especially Devi), who I will write about another time, and we have Auri and D, who we have probably talked about sufficiently, all of our three main characters in the frame are men, and all the regulars in the Waystone are men.

This is the first view of the world we get, the Waystone and the story about Taborlin and the Chandrian, and it’s the most reliable view of the world we get because it’s not filtered through Kvothe’s perceptions, and everyone there is male. Every single one.

Now, John Scalzi talked about how he read the beginning and they were eating stew and he sighed, because stew is a fantasy cliche. I’d like to say that I read the beginning and I sighed because they were all guys and that’s also a fantasy cliche. But I didn’t, because I didn’t even notice until I thought about it, because it’s not just a cliche it’s the standard normal default and I am so totally used to it. As I said in the beginning, I think Rothfuss really is doing better at this kind of thing than most people.

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

Alejandro Melchor
1. Al-X
My main problem with Rothfuss's female characters is that they are all created to make Kvothe look better; it is hinted or outright stated that they are better than him in their respective areas, but narratively they are just there to fawn over Kvothe in one way or another.
David Holden
2. davidholden
Al-X: And who is telling the story? Kvothe is... so why wouldn't he discuss them in ways that make him look better? Did human nature change in the last 10,000 years?
Ashley Fox
3. A Fox
DELETED Sorry guys began writing a post then had an interlude for my son's bedtime (read a kids version of Phantom of the Opera) and he tried to be helpful and apparently posted the begining of my post! lol, that and the rest of it are @9
George Brell
4. gbrell
A small nit-pick (that does nothing to undercut Jo's main point), there are two female wagoneers in the caravan that shows up in the beginning of NotW, Ch. 3. It's mentioned that they (or other women) "flirted."

But yeah, the frame story is pretty much all men, all the time.

I think I'll have some more comments on this (and hopefully others' thoughts) later.
Patrick Stultz
5. Audion
K got called out by Bast by saying all the girls in his story are pretty too. So of course everything is through the view of Kvothe.

As to why there aren't any women in the frame, I think it has a smipler reason. Most of the "regular" customers are the batchlor's in town. Not all, Shep obviously wasn't. These guys are the same ones that would probably be sitting around their TV having a few beers together a few times a week in our modern culture.

Now, why there aren't any women? How many women do you know in OUR world that really go down to the pubs every night in small towns? How many women go out in a war torn country every night? Not that many, especially not that many single ones... times being what they are.

With that said, one of those regular's most definatly could be a female.. but I think it was a choice by Patrick to do this. He even sets it up a little in K's story telling when he asks what is lacking to Chroniclor and Bast.. and Bast replys with "women Reshii, there is a serious lack of women".
J Town
6. J Town
Funny, I thought that the female characters at times actually made Kvothe looked like a bit of a jerk, which he can (self-admittedly) be.

And even if Rothfuss' female characters make Kvothe look better in many instances, that's because Kvothe is telling the story. Kvothe IS the story. So everything in it will be described from his perspective and reflect his natural biases. Kvothe thinks he's pretty great, so often the women in his story will reflect that belief in their actions. He is also aware of certain faults that he has (while blissfully ignorant of others), so the women will tend to illustrate those faults as well.

So I wouldn't say that they are narratively there solely to fawn over Kvothe. They are, however, there to help tell Kvothe's story, and therefore how they are described and understood is going to necessarily be Kvothe-centric. Our lad is obviously quite used to being the center of the universe in his own mind.
Alejandro Melchor
7. Al-X
@davidholden: Even accounting for the unreliable (and egocentric) narrator, the women in the story still come across more as devices than as characters, at least to me. And let's remember that the Kvothe telling the story is one who has a huge chip of self-loathing on his shoulders, if his narration was more in line with his state of mind at the time of narration, he'd be making himself look worse.
Lisa Grabenstetter
8. magneticcrow
I call BS on "How many women do you know in OUR world that really go down to the pubs every night in small towns?" being an excuse. In case you haven't noticed, this is a fantasy novel. The cultural mores, as Jo has mentioned, are rather different than those in any particular timeframe of Western Earth history (as are the realistic distances that can be traveled in a single day on a horse). Women show up in pubs and restaurants and dance halls (even small town ones) in Kvothe's retelling, so why not in his pub? It's a perfectly valid question to ask.

I'll be interested in finding out how unreliable a narrator Kvothe is, at the end. He certainly is the Gary Stu of his own story, despite his self-effacing behavior as the barkeep. Lots of swooping in and white-knighting to every single woman he meets, and spending way more time describing their appearances than their personalities.
Ashley Fox
9. A Fox
There are some more women in the frame:

Interude- A bit of a Fiddle p.332-334 WMF

Here we see the presence of women of Newware, some named. We also get a glimpse of their cuture (very typical, true) and where they have been. Busy at harvest time, and with families.
They seem to be nearing the end harvest time, are celebrating and making use of Chronicler.

"Men and women smiled and relaxed, glad to be off their feet."
We see a young wife kissing her husband. Old man Benton trying to lft Widow Creel's skirts. A pair of girls playing. Elias joking with his wife.

In terms of labour and permits to go to the pub there seems to be more equality. Though it also must be said that women enter with men, and are also in the more typical mother/wife or daughter roles.

"But underneath it all, there was a one spoke of taxes, or armies, or how they had begun to lock their doors at night."

This section is very telling. It also provides reasons for the inbalance we see. Times are tight, we have seen this repeated in the frame through the various hardships the locals are going through. Money is tight. A lot of folk simply cannot afford to be wasting money on a night at the pub. excepting special occaisons or unusual reasons. The harvest and wills.

The local lads that we see frequent the pub are the more independant folk, those who do not seem to have big familes/farms. I've worked in bars and have met plenty of bar flies like them. Men who have little family of their own and seek company. Old Cob is very typical of these garralous, lonely types. There is also the possibility that they come there in an effort to support K...they often comment on his trade.

We also know that Newaare is a Tehlin villiage. But I do not have much else to say as we do not really know the role of women there. The priests are male, use male guards, and Tehlin places to seem to treat women as chattel.

There is another section where the caravan passes through, culture beyound the immediate locality. Is this in NotW? Can't find it after a rather brief search. Anywho, the leader of the caravan is female and I seem to recall other women in that group too.
Patrick Stultz
10. Audion

All I can say is from personal experience. I grew up in MN, the better half to WI that Rothfuss lives in (yes, we all hate/love each other in the middle of the country) and I call tell you what it's like in WI where Patrick lives. Don't underestimate the cultural references of where someone lives and grew up.
In WI, there are more bars than churches.
Look it up, it's true. Most of them are little dives, a place where if you go to you can expect to see the same 4-5 people every night. Most are in small towns, or groupings of buildings you Might be able to call a town, but probably wouldn't.
Of course not every bar is like that, and not everywhere in the world is. But don't think that there are not a Very many places that are exactly just like that.
William Carter
11. wcarter
@8 magneticcrow

Spending more time describing characters' apperances than personalities is what you're supposed to do. Show don't tell.

You can say Jane was five foot nothing with dark hair, green eyes and a dark blue dress. You need to show her as being short tempered--have her yell at someone for some precieved slight, you need to show that's mischivious--have her play a prank or intentionaly twist someone's words in a conversation to get them flustered. If you just say it, well that's just bad writing.

In this case the show is also being filtered through K's perceptions. Maybe he's more interested in how Fela or D look as a woman. And we can find out a bit of D or Devi's personalities in particular with the banter (again, filtered through K's biases).

On a completely unrelated note: dang it's been a long time since I've posted on one the Kingkiller threads.
Steven Halter
12. stevenhalter
Good post, Jo. When you mentioned that you would be doing a post on the women of the frame, my very first thought was, "Wait, there aren't really any there." I hadn't really thought about that before.
As you mention, there really isn't any reason (that we know of) for Bast or Chronicler or at the least one of the villagers to be female. So, why aren't they? Some reasons that occur to me:
1) PR tripped up.
2) PR thought about and decided to put no women in the frame for reasons that escape me at the moment.
3) ::far out:: Kote isn't Kvothe but is Denna. If you're going to change your name a little, maybe you might as well change a large part...

Options 1 and 2 are the obvious choices. 3 just ocurred to me as a possibility. This kind of gives us a "woman" in the frame. If there were a change between Kvothe to someone else, D seems like a decent choice.
J Town
13. mutantalbinocrocodile
I'm on the side of "interesting author choice" here, particularly with the meta quote by Bast mentioned by @5. K is not the kind of man to take on a female student without a hint of sexuality, or to tell his story fluently to a female historian. His behavior shows a deep and consistent difficulty in relating to women as people rather than "the other". I for one would rather an author depicted and played off this (not unrealistic or uncommon) character trait instead of necessarily creating a more utopian world because he/she can.
Lisa Grabenstetter
14. magneticcrow
Responses to #s 10 and 11

10: Ok, as mentioned, this is a fantasy novel. Set in a fantasy world that is not, as far as we know right now, even a permutation of Earth. What you're basically saying is that the prejudices and privilege-blindnesses Rothfuss absorbed growing up in smalltown WI* have seasoned his depiction of Kvothe's pub. Which is absolutely possible, and probable even, but if so it's still totally worthy of criticism. Also, it happens to be somewhat inconsistent with the rest of the book, which is why we're all picking at it.

*(Though honestly, even in the ittiest of bitty, not-on-the-map-at-all Ohio towns I've stayed in there have been women hanging out in all the bars at night. Women dressed as zombies even. Maybe we're from very different generations.)

11: Ok, yes, show don't tell. What I meant is: they have very little personality outside of various levels of adoration for Kvothe. They have pasts, and a few interests (all told, not shown), but their responses to situations and character building is very... bland. Reactionary only. Denna gets some decent character building, but she's really the only one, and I still feel like her responses to situations are more convenient than consistent. It's like Al-X says in #7, they're basically narrative props. Maybe the story will end and we'll find out he invented all of them.
Carl Banks
15. robocarp
Men outnumber women 10 to 1 at the University. Women are prevented from being flogged at the University. Denna has few options available to her other than gold-digging. Etc.

There is a lot of evidence that, although women may not be as marginalized as they were in 17th-century Europe, the world PR created still has far fewer independent women than men. So I would say in that world, it would be typical for people in Kvothe, Bast, and Chronicler's situations to all be men. The next question might be, "Why did PR create such a world?", but that's another (much more delicate) question.

As for the pub visitors: Newarre is a backwoods hick town in Vint. They probably have more of what we could call antiquated views about women than the more progressive Commonwealth, and so culturally the inn might be seen as more of a men's hangout even if it's not exactly prohibited to women.

BTW, I like your advice about not falling into stereotypes with minor characters; it's always something I note and enjoy when other creators break stereotypes like that.
J Town
16. 4tothefloor
I think it's pretty clear that PR deliberately left women out of the frame story as a choice, not as an oversight.

Within Kvothe's story of the recent past, the world is a brighter, happier, more egalitarian place. PR makes a point of indicating that there are women in every tavern and public place Kvothe goes, as servers, owners, and as customers.

But in the world of the frame story, things are falling apart. The harvests are bad, taxes are high, people are getting hungry and desperate. The disappearance of women from public spaces (unless escorted by their husbands and sweethearts) is a telling indicator that not only has the world become a more dangerous place, but that the world is cycling back from those egalitarian ideals towards a more Dark Ages kind of thinking.

After all, the frame story makes it clear that not only are the roads unsafe (farmer killed by monsters, Chronicler robbed) the tavern is just as dangerous. Within two days the exact same dangers on the road come right over Kvothe's threshhold: one customer is killed by a monster and Kvothe/Kote is beaten and robbed by soldiers.

Given the amount of detail and thought built into the world, I think that makes more sense than assuming PR just forgot.
Carl Banks
17. robocarp

Men in the story are designed to make Kvothe look better too. It's Kvothe's story.

And I couldn't possibly disagree with you more that the women come across as mere devices. At some level everything in a story is a device but Kote's women are real characters. However Kote embellishes their appearance or emphasizes their effect on him (the latter entirely excusable in a story about him), the women are mainly preseneted as people with their own motives, insecurities, and feelings.

We'll say nothing of the fact that most of a good fraction of the women in the story don't make him look good. At all.
thistle pong
18. thistlepong
That's an exceedingly good point, Jo. When you posted in the last thread, I thought maybe it'd be a list of widows or how the frame could have been a good place to have a Bechdel moment to separate it from the narrative. There are widows, wives, and daughters. The one with any dialogue at all asks to use the toilet.
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
19. PangerBan
@12 stevenhalter
Kvothe is not Kote but Denna! ::delighted amusement::

@17 robocarp
I agree also that women do not come across as devices. They too real, all of them. And some of them are just down-right cool, like Devi.

It did annoy me a little they way they were all so pretty, but when Bast calls Kvothe out on it makes me think "oh, that is ok then. As long as someone notices."
In just the way it is KILLING me than not one of Kvothe's so-clever friends have made the joke "oh, you are addicted to denner." Someone should say something about it!

I think it would not work for Bast or Cronicler to be girls... It is nice to think that it does not change relationships but it does. If Kvothe had a girl student so many people would be thinking "is he kissing her? is he?"

And I agree with @16. With everything he/she(?) said.
The world is falling apart... ::sadness::
thistle pong
22. thistlepong

Most of the folks defending the lack of women in the frame seem to be saying 2) and meaning 1). 3) might explain how Lanre got naming powers.

EDIT: Pat posted a touching blog
EDIT2: Wow, we seem to be missing two mystery comments.
Steven Halter
23. stevenhalter
thistlepong@22:That's a really interesting extension. Lyra brought Lanre back to life by an attempted renaming of herself--she essentially sacrifices herself in a way. "Lanre" returns to life to find "Lyra" dead but retains Lyra's naming skills. D & K could have done something similar.
No idea if anything like that happened, but I can see a really nice story that works with all of that.
Robert Walter
24. riwalter
In the specific situation of the bar I think the regulars are a concious choice and a good one. In a sense the regulars serve as part of the bar rather than people. They help set the atmosphere, which is a dull, unsuccessful and uninteresting bar run by a dull, unsuccessful and uninteresting barkeep.

Introducing more interesting characters would change the tone of K's current life. I like the choice of a generic fantasy setting with the trite regulars and the stereotypical stew. The whole setting is supposed to be bland and uninteresting and it serves as a stark contrast for K's story and storytelling.

It's been a while since I read the books so this next part might miss the mark by a wide margin. I also think the choice of Chronicler and Bast as male is deliberate, especially if you buy into my assertion that the bar regulars are really just part of the setting. I think that in part the two are both male because K engages with women in such a different fashion than men. Men are the safe choice for K in his fragile state. He can deal with them without exposing his emotions. I suspect that if given the choice in his role as a barkeep he would keep any intresting women as far from himself and his bar as possible.
Steven Halter
26. stevenhalter
riwalter@24:I've been in small town bars that have women who are of equal interestingness as the men--for equal values of interesting or uninteresting.
Many of the Newarre Inn people could have been female without changing the story hardly at all.
As thistlepong mentioned, my choice 2 is really meant to cover situations where there was a real deliberate purpose.
thistle pong
27. thistlepong

I think the D&K doing something similar was what I was toying with a several weeks ago. Your post dredged up a memory of a theory that Lyra was Haliax (and incidentally the Lady Lacklessof the rhyme.) I can see it working either way; but it feels wrong... out of proportion.


That's a fair speculation and it even tracks with the late addition of the frame. I think I agree with Jo, though. It's sn easy choice of depiction and not necessarily a good one.

It's also in sharp contrast with the narrative. So much so, in fact, that it's almost an argument against Newarre being in Vintas. From the narrative, Vintas appears to more gender progressive than The Commonwealth or Ceald.
Rob Munnelly
28. RobMRobM
Someone please keep this re-read in mind for a Hugo nomination. It's insane but wonderful.
Jo Walton
29. bluejo
Riwalter: I expect you didn't mean to say this and it came out wrong, but your comment sounds as if you think men are ordinary people and women are... weird exceptions. I'm with StevenHalter here. I've also known cafes and bars where women have been regulars and just as much part of the scenery as men. Why, when I lived in Lancaster I was myself a regular in a pub called the John O'Gaunt. If Rothfuss had wanted to have a couple of the regulars listening to Cob's story be women, he could have done that and had them just as much part of the scenery as the guys.
Steven Halter
30. stevenhalter
RobMRobM@28:I am keeping it in mind for just that. I think the "Best Related Work" category fits nicely.
J Town
31. Iarvin
Wouldn't having women play a large role in the frame give the setting a different tone? Men do often interact differently with women around. Rothfuss could have intentionally desired one set of interactions over the other.

One thing that could be intentially thematic here is that Kvothe at the end of WMF is very active with women in his community. The lack of important women in the frame could be another symptom of him changing his name.
Carl Banks
32. robocarp

I think riwalter meant that the framing scene was boring and ordinary because it was a cliche and unimaginative, not because men are more ordinary or more typically found in bars. It's sort of a metacontrast, if you will. Not only is the action in the frame more boring and regressive, so is the writing. It makes a bit of sense, but I wouldn't want to guess if the sex of the characters in the bar is deliberately part of that.


re: Vint being more gender progressinve the the Commonwealth

I didn't get that at all. The Commonwealth seemed to be more progressive to me, both among the aristocracy and the commons. The Maer's court seemed consist mainly of men, and Meluan was seen as desirable mainly for her estate. Denna's conversation with the girl she rescued suggested that opportunities for independence were very limited to women in Vint, moreso than seemed to be the case in Tarbean and Imre especially. There was Hespe, I guess, which suggests that at least it's not scandalous for a woman to enter some "men's jobs".
J Town
33. SKM

If Kvothe had a girl student so many people would be thinking "is he kissing her? is he?"

Actually, a lot of people are thinking it anyway. I frequently see Kvast shipping in the fandom...


I've lived all my life in WI and used to work as a bartender in one such "dive." The regulars were about 40-60 female-male split. Most of the bars I've gone to have had a minority female patronage, but not by much. So I'm not buying "he's modeling off WI bar culture" as the reason here.
thistle pong
34. thistlepong

I'd be ever so grateful for links to or examples of said shipping.
Skip Ives
35. Skip
I took the maleness at the inn to be on purpose. An inn with women could be a living thing, and Kote is a cut flower, waiting to die. Yes, I think there could have been one or two women in the group of regulars and it wouldn't have been something that would have bothered me, but I get the feeling that everything "normal" about the inn is designed to reinforce the silence of the opening lines of the book. If that is the case then the male characters are there because Kote is male. As we meet everyone we are not distracted by thoughts about any of them, they are just part and parcel to the background of the bar. Part of it may be the setting too. While I would expect that walking into any bar today I would see a mix of genders, neither of my grandmothers would have ever set foot in a bar.

I am interested in who we see in the inn in the next book though, if we see Kvothe come to the fore, I expect we will see more of the townswomen at the inn. I'm also interested to see how people react to Kvothe in the frame, Kvothe the Clueless.

@19. PangerBan said:
I think it would not work for Bast or Cronicler to be girls... It is nice to think that it does not change relationships but it does. If Kvothe had a girl student so many people would be thinking "is he kissing her? is he?"
Wrong gerund, but yes for Bast, no for Chronicler. Chronicler is obviously someone new to Kote, so I don't see any real tension there is he had been a she.
Don Barkauskas
36. bad_platypus
thistlepong @22: Two posibilities for the missing comments:
1. They were nuked by the moderators for being offensive, or
2. (more likely) They included links and are caught in the automatic spam filter; in that case, they will eventually appear once the moderators check and make sure that they're legitimate.
thistle pong
37. thistlepong
Oh. I suspect they were deleted. I actually got to read comment 25 before it was removed.
John Graham
38. JohnPoint
Interesting points, Jo. My ::uncertain:: guess is that Pat intentionally chose to set the frame up as he did -- regardless of whether we think that the story is sexist or not (cross-apply Part 25), Pat is certainly aware of these issues. So that brings us to the trickier questions of why he set the frame up this way, and why (as robocarp ask @15) he set the world up this way.

We can speculate on those, but I'm not sure that we can come up with anything satisfactory one way or another at this point...
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
39. PangerBan
@33 SKM.
"actually, a lot of people are thinking that anyway..."
Lord and lady, really?? ::astonished amusement::

@35. Skip.
Sorry for the wrong gerad. Sometimes my english is not good. ::mild embrassment::
And allright, you are true about Chronicler. I see no reason why he should really have be a guy, but nor can I see any why he should be a girl... unless it is to balance out the genders for the readers, but I (only personally and probably wrongly) think it is an unhappy reason to make a person anything.
Besides, I like Chronicler being a guy. He's cool. ::unimportant::

I like the idea of there being no significant girls because it is part of Kvothe pretending to be Kote...
Also trying very hard to see how Lyra changing her name would make Lanre once again alive, but I cannot.... (@23 said this)

As to the fact that there are less girls because the road are bad, I don't know if this hold true. In there story, there are female mersinarys and that sort of thing...
Roger Pavelle
40. RogerPavelle
I think the reason Chronicler is male is because Bast is both male and very active in courting the females in town ::vast understatement::. If Chronicler were female the entire dynamic between them (and others) would change (from their initial conflict to the threats at the end of Day 1 to the bandits in Day 2 to the Cthaeh-based confrontation at the end of Day 2).

- Roger
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
41. PangerBan
@40 Roger
Aha! Very good, and very true!
Robert Walter
42. riwalter
bluejo@29: My apologies that it came off that way. I had no intention of suggesting men are the default or ordinary. Nor did I mean to imply that I view women as weird exceptions. Instead, I meant that a bunch of men in a bar with no women is the stereotype and and that it was a deliberate decision to employ that stereotype. I think robocarp did a better job of describing my point in @32.

robocarp@32: Thanks, you captured my point far better than I did.

RogerPavelle@40: I really like your point that making Chronicler female would have changed dynamic between him and Bast. I never considered that.

stevenhalter@26: Hopefully robocarp's succinct @32 comment clarified my point. If not then here is my extended argument. :D

I agree that women could have been included without changing the plot, but this particular scene would lose the added element of playing on our knowledge that it is a stereotype. I am suggesting that PR intentionally chose the stereotypical device of a bunch of men in a inn/pub/bar/ale house because, as Jo Walton puts it "when you go with default settings you get things that are bland".

This is a case of an author using a default setting not as a crutch or out of laziness, but because it conveys to the reader a very specific sense of blandness and lack of depth. Not only is the inn boring, but it's like PR is taking the stereotype, holding it in front of our faces and saying "look, you should absolutely think this is trite and stereotypical because it is. K's life at this point is a trite stereotype of an ordinary life."
Carl Banks
43. robocarp

The reason I called the questions delicate is because authors will create what they want to create. If an author wants to write a story involving three men in a world where the participants could each equally likely be women, who are we to tell her she shouldn't have done that?

Still, it's reasonable to wonder how PR arrived at a world where three certain important characters are male, and whether he made any deliberate effort to make the world congruent with that circumstance. I really don't know, but even if he didn't take any conscious pains to do it, I believe a good author will work it until it "feels right", and that feeling might include things like whether it makes sense for three people to be men.
J Town
44. Sukram
I think if Chronicler was a woman it would have led to a very delicate scene.

Chronicler-girl meets Kvothe fighting the Scrael, during the fight she gets hurt and knocked unconscious. Kvothe carries her to the inn and there both Kvothe and Bast bring her to a room, undress her ,and tend to her injuries. I mean two guys who at that point of the story we don't know anything about and an unconscious and undressed woman in a room where nobody can hear them? That's a bit delicate.
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
45. PangerBan
@44 Sukram
Very good, very true! For that sence to work, both Bast AND Chronicler would have to be girls so Bast could do the tending-to-injuries, and having a girl student of Kvothe's would not be the best.

Is all these enough reasons to say that Bast and Chronicler are very good for being guys?
thistle pong
46. thistlepong

But it would be interesting. You'd have a very small creep factor overwhelmed by the virtue of Kvothe and Bast's workmanlike ministration. You'd incidentally have a woman confident enough to travel alone, crafty enough to spread her coin around, and wise enough to keep her head. Your bandits would be even more congenial, which was the point of the scene anyway. And you'd present an egalitarian environment.

Not that that Pat should have done that. But the, erm, delicacy would be a feature, not a bug.
thistle pong
47. thistlepong
I didn't get that at all. The Commonwealth seemed to be more progressive to me, both among the aristocracy and the commons. The Maer's court seemed consist mainly of men, and Meluan was seen as desirable mainly for her estate. Denna's conversation with the girl she rescued suggested that opportunities for independence were very limited to women in Vint, moreso than seemed to be the case in Tarbean and Imre especially. There was Hespe, I guess, which suggests that at least it's not scandalous for a woman to enter some "men's jobs".
Well, like most of my ferocious pendanty, it's a long argument better bolstered by specific quotes from the text. I'm finding less and less time to do that, lately, though. Maybe I can get you to at least consider my view casually. Having lately reconciled with Wetlandernw, I'd prefer to avoid the appearance of nitpicking you specifically.

Let me throw out some initial caveats. Our knowledge of 4C cultures is imperfect. Kvothe is, for all intents and purposes, a Commonwealth kid; our Kvothe bias is also contains within it a Commonwealth bias. So I can totally feel the, "Commonwealth is better," vibe.

I'm not sure it pans out, though. In the Commonwealth, every insititution, from the Church to the University to the public house is run by men. At the University, one in ten students are women; and in some cases the Masters are openly hostile to them. We know less about Ceald, 'cause Kvothe's never been there and rarely asks about it. However we know they have one or two rigid divisions of gendered behavior.

We come to know a lot aboutVintas* over the course of the novels. They have women in the line of succession. They hold titles alone. Their power and influence stretches across the 4C so that Samista can terrorise the Eolian. Penny owns The Pennysworth. There's not a male server or co-proprietor in sight. And she controls the action in the inn to a fairly stunning degree. Hespe's not even the only female fighter presented there. Gran lives alone and holds a position of relative power in Levinshir. The women there, in fact, race out to confront the armed youth escorting their girls ahead of their men.

Alveron's household is overwhelming male, but that doesn't necessarily mean the Severen court is. We see a few women and hear about more notables. None of us have done a taxonomy, yet, but I'd lay good odds the named nobles are in a better ratio than 1:10. The trouble Alveron goes to to woo Meluan should adequately demonstrate a bit more respect than you give credit for. Her estate and her family's relative freedom from royal interferrence is definitely a motivating factor. However, no one is portrayed as simply negotiating a contract. And she's absolutely free to make her own choice.

There's also a trend of increasing sexual proscription from East to West. Ademre is largely matriarchal and sexually practical. We have hints that Modeg is sexually libertine. Gendered roles in Vintas are relatively fluid, if sex is more prudish. Atur is strictly patriarchal and the Aturrans we meet are somewhat uptight. And I touched on Ceald and the Commonwealth above.

*not Vint, which I only note 'cause there are a few places where the difference is important
Alice Arneson
48. Wetlandernw
Well, I have to say there are advantages to being too busy to get in on the action right away... It's very interesting, in this particular case, to have read all the comments in one sitting and before attempting to comment myself. Many very good points.

I've concluded, for what little it's worth, that PR deliberately chose the (almost-)all-male frame setting, because it works better with the story he wanted to tell. As we've seen, he has no problem writing women into the main story, and making (some of) them highly competent individuals. (Just as (some of) the men are highly competent - and some aren't.)

Is there a reason Bast couldn't be female? Quite possibly several, related to parts of the story we haven't seen yet - we don't know much about his background or his initial connection with Kvothe, and his gender may be significant there. Whatever the reason he needs to be male, I think we can safely assume that their relationship would be different if Bast were female - not better, not worse, but different, and that the difference would probably not fit rightly into the story PR wants to tell. It might be an interesting story, but it wouldn't be the same story.

The same goes for Chronicler, although in different ways. Would a woman who is not a mercenary really travel around the world alone, given the current state of affairs? Would she really only have been robbed of her possessions and her horse when confronted by the soldiers? Would she have been physically able to walk to where K was preparing to fight the scrael when they were done with her? It's possible that PR could have written sufficiently gentlemanly highwaymen, or a band of all-homosexual bandits, or... something, whereby she would have remained unmolested. It's also possible that he could simply have kept her from being accosted, but again - it would have been a different story. Not only did he use Chronicler's robbery to show us a bit of the state of the world (lawlessness, soldiers turning bandit, etc.) immediately, one of them showed up later in a fairly significant fashion. Granted that I'm not the creative genius PR is, but I find it a bit difficult to imagine how those (and various other) aspects could have believably been written around a woman while still telling the same story. Sure, he could have used other means to tell us about current events, but wrapping it into one arc is much more efficient.

Then, of course, there's the character of Kvote/Kote himself. Who he is, and how we perceive him, would be unavoidably altered if one of the three main characters in the frame were a woman. The combination of his age, his experience and his personality are carefully drawn by his interactions with other people, and I think how we see him in the frame is a non-zero part of that. He would be a different person if he had a female student, and would tell his story differently to a woman. Again, it's not a matter of making the story better or worse, but it would have to be different.

What about the regulars at the bar? Couldn't some of them have been women? The arguments aren't quite so compelling there, because the deep personal interaction isn't the same, but the same basic arguments exist; K would be a slightly different person if even one of his regulars were a woman, and then it would have to be a slightly different story.

None of that, of course, precludes the fact that PR could have written a different story if he'd wished. However, since I'm rather enjoying the story I've read so far, I don't have any deep desire to have had it done differently. :)
Alice Arneson
49. Wetlandernw
My apologies for bringing in something completely unrelated to this thread, but I don't recall seeing it elsewhere... Has anyone remarked upon the similarity between Bast's reaction to Chronicler's Naming iron, and Cinder's reaction to Haliax saying, "Ferula" somewhere? If so, please point me in the general direction of the discussion. If not, please tell me if it really seems similar, or if it's just my imagination working overtime.
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
50. PangerBan
@49 I do not know if it is discussed anything else, but this what what happened to Bast when Chronicler named Iron:
"Bast doubled over as if punched in the stomach, baring his teeth and making a noise halfway between a growl and a scream."

And when Halix said "Ferula":
"He staggered, his body suddenly rigid with pain..." and a bit of talking and THEN "he convulsed and cried out, sounding more like a wounded animal than a man" and then some more talking before "he crumpled, trembling, to his knees" and also "wrapped shaking arms around his midsection and hunched over, closing his eyes" and "Cinder’s voice was a quiet shred of pain."
And when Haliax let him go, he was sweaty and shaking.

To me it sounds much worse for Cinder. Like Haliax is twisting his name up to give him pain. I think Chronicler has named Iron which hurts Bast but wont kill him, while Haliax has named Cinder and so can do anything to him at all. Maybe.

And I have something else not related that may have already been found, but I did not see it before and got so very excited...

Bast says to Chronicler "It is a freely given gift. I offer it without obligation, let or lein."
And Bredon to Kvothe: "These are yours without obligation, let or lein. A freely given gift."
Bredon is more than a little fae around the edges, nia?
Roger Pavelle
51. RogerPavelle
@50 Bredon is more than a little fae around the edges, nia?

I don't know if it is a question of fae rather than a formal way of presenting something without any expectation of reciprocation. Contrast it to Bast telling Chronicler he owns him 3 ways at the end of NotW.

- Roger
J Town
52. zwitterion
We don't know where Bast and Kvothe met, but it is clear that Kvothe and his well-being are very important to Bast. If they met in Fae, and Bast was female, wouldn't Felurian have given female Bast a TREMENDOUS smack-down? I think so.

Three people is a very small sample. Not statistically significant that they are all male. I know, it is still significant in a symbolic, artistic sense, but it doesn't really trouble me. What does trouble me is the slightly larger sample of Masters at the University. All male. Perhaps it bugs me because I spent years in a biochemistry program at university (not all that long ago) and had exactly ONE female professor? Could well be.
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
53. PangerBan
@51 Roger

Perhaps you have the truth, but I was thinking if it were only formal, then more people would use it... like people formally saying "I am telling you three times" .....

Oh yes, those masters. There could have been a girl master... Maybe there even should have been. But I have to admit that it spoiled nothing for me at the time, because I did not notice. Did not notice there was anything strange about them all being men, I mean... ::however::
Alice Arneson
54. Wetlandernw
The masters being all men didn't actually bother me, though I don't know of any reason it would mess with the story if one were a woman. Thing is, my college degree was in an area that's completely open to women - but there still weren't many women in the classes, and none teaching. Discrimination? I don't think so. Most of the women who earn an engineering degrees go out in the workplace to make a name for themselves there, rather than returning to academia. And as for the students... well, I knew lots of other women in college, and they simply didn't want to study engineering. It's not always discrimination, folks. (And yes, I'm a woman, with degrees in engineering, chemistry and English. I've been in it. There really is some truth behind the generalizations.)
Adam Price
55. Zuphlas
@51 & 53 - Roger and PangerBan

I definitely take the point of it being potentially a common saying, but I'm leaning towards PangerBan's view of this because of the part Roger mentions, the "I own you 3 ways" scene, which is actually quite revealing.

From this bit with Bast it seems clear that, due to their forms of magic, in Fae the accepting of a gift can potentially be dangerous and bind you to a person in some fashion (this is actually something you find in our own stories and legends about fairie if I recall correctly). Therefore the phrase "a freely given gift", offered "without let or lien", i.e. without this binding element, seems to have arisen as a result of this kind of interaction. It seems pretty incontrovertable to me that the phrase must have its roots in Fae or in dealings with Fae.

Although of course it could have spread and entered general parlance a long time ago, PangerBan's right that you'd expect to have heard it more frequently (and there've been plenty of chances for Pat to establish that, say when Denna gives him the case, or whenever Willem and Simmon buy him a drink). So I'm definitely sold on it being another pretty heavy indicator of Bredon's indeed being 'fae round the edges', personally.
Carl Banks
56. robocarp

You make good points but not quite what I'd call strong evidence against Newarre being in Vint (yet).

I'm going to clarify and amend my thoughts. I don't think the University (and Imre to a lesser extent) is really indicative of the general cultural attitudes of the Commonwealth. That can cut both ways as far as gender equity. On one hand, places of learning are inherently more progressive (or at least think they are). On the other, the University attracts people from all over the FC, bringing in a diverse set of attitudes.

The University, I'd say, is the most egalitarian place we've seen in FC, in spite of the dearth of women (there could be a lot of reasons for that, including the possibility that other countries might not send as many), but it seems opportunities for the female students are on par with the male students. As for the rest of the Commonwealth, I'm not as sure.

A woman in Hallowfell owned a brewery (IIRC), inherited from her husband, yes, but that could be true of the Pennysworth. Women perform in the Eolian. One woman ran a caravan. Women travel freely (Nina, Denna). Devi owns a lucrative lending service but that's not a good example.

Out of curisosity, do we know where the female students Kvothe knows come from? None of them have notable accents as far as I remember. I have a vague notion that Auri might be Modegan because she refuses to wear used clothes.
Roger Pavelle
57. RogerPavelle
@55 Zuphlas
I don't think there have been many instances where a gift has actually been freely given without any expectation of some form of remittance. Sim and Wil buying drinks doesn't really work since the implication is generally that the receiver will stand a round in the future (which Kvothe does using bar credit). Fela's gift of a cloak could be seen as compensation for Kvothe having rescued her from the fire (and therefore removing an implied debt of the sort Bast invokes). Kvothe and Auri always exchange gifts equally (perceived value). The goods Kvothe gives to the girls and injured farmer in Levinshir are recompense for their having suffered at the hands of the Edema Ruh (or false ones). Actually, even Denna's lute case could be seen as having relieving a debt on her part for the heartache she sees she created in Kvothe by borrowing his lute; it was intended to be a gift without debt or lien but in the giving repayed a debt. As she says, she tries to do something good but always messes it up ::inexact quote::

RE: female masters
There are two other factors that need to be taken into consideration when asking why there are no female masters. First, there are only 9 masters and I don't get the impression that there is a lot of turnover. Second, there isn't any indication of how long women have been allowed at the University, so there may simply not be many women who have sufficient training to be masters. To illustrate the second point, Devi says she was capable of beating Elxa Dal in a sympathy duel. However, even if she hadn't been expelled, I don't get the impression that she has the temperment to be a good teacher.

- Roger
Ashley Fox
58. A Fox
A lack of women in the fame. There is certainly a male predominance. I think it is simple to view this singular point as totally negative. This does not discount the inherent patriarchal bias. When taken in context with the rest of the narrative the frame awknowledges and highlights just why this bias is negative. In the frame K is broken. The world is in upheval. There are no women.

His story begins, in one of its beginings, with the loss of his mother. Who first taught him to sing.

Out of the wild and uncivilised he survives, barely, in Tarbean. A bleak time, with almost no women. Awakened, he meets Denna and Reta. In their presence he plays a lute once more, a shedding of pain and remembering. From here on women play very significant roles in K's life. Many men play a part in the life K has built at the uni, hiding much of who he is. His interactions with women tend to touch upon a deeper level. I would also include Felurian here. Sex aside, she brings out a depth in him. To be able to name her, surely he must know himself. His act of acceptance of Felurian is in stark contrast with some of his other decisions, that perhaps lead him to folly. The mass slaughters and such.

In light of this the lack of women in the frame becomes even more stark. This is not a celebration of manly ways, this is a mourning for that which lacks.

The women that we do see hold a burdensome hope, fragile even. They work the land alongside their men, strugling to provide for their families. Taxes and the call of war. Even dying, or concieving new life they call for their men to stay, to not go to a war that obviously is not going well. (The increase to gold for signing up shows that there is money...but they are going through soldiers quickly. The desertion and banditry show a breakdown in command, in the king's own farrel.) Seeing that plans and wills made. Striving. Their actions reflect the way K views the war, and his future.

Warning: I'm going to dive into the political make up that has led to the frame. It's long winded, sorry.

D3 wil no doubt bring resolutions, but now I am really starting to fear for the health of the ladies of the cast. We have seen the edges of some threads of plots to take over the throne. The frame has it's rebels and penitant king. K blames himslef, we're aware, but then we know how we don't always agree with how such views are made. Such political insurgences tend to gain momentum. It is quite possible that violence brakes out between players (the Maer & Lackless, Calanthis, Jakis...Bredon & D(& small kingdoms)?) very early on in K's coming narative. Perhaps the events that he played a direct role in, and places such blame upon himslef for, come later when things are already falling apart. After people he cares about were involved/dead.

Perhaps that even extends to a power play in the uni. We have seen how Hemme is cuddled up with a Jakis, and how the Chancellor mysteriously falls sick at the end of WMF. Do Jakis offer to relieve the Tehin hold on vint, left over from the days of Empire? Perhaps Hemme believes to aid the Arcanum by making an an arcanist a king of a hostile territory. So the pieces are laid.

We rather suspect that roderick is dead and the Maer and perhaps Lady Lackless have asended the throne. Where does that leave Jakis? We suspect they were behind the demise of the family of the southern farls. They're land is also in the south, it is likely they have ties of blood with those lost and possibly claimed their land, or at least the power inherent in them.

Thistlepong, hello :) You handily popped this up on goodreads a little whie ago:

Anyway, since folks are wonderin', here's the Vintic peerage
1. King Roderic Calanthis
2. (Queen)
3. (Heir - underage/unavailable)
4. Prince Regent Alaitis (deceased)
5. Prince Regent (name unknown)
6. Prince Regent (name unknown0
7. Maershon Lerand Alveron
8. Duchess Samista
9. Aculeus Lackless
10. Meluan Lackless
11. Surthen patriarch (deceased)
12. Surthen matriarch (deceased)
13. Surthen heir (deceased)
14. (missing info)
15. Baron Jakis
16. Ambrose Jakis

Post The Wise Man's Fear
1. King Roderic Calanthis
2. (Queen)
3. (Heir - underage/unavailable)
4. Prince Regent (name unknown) up 1
5. Prince Regent (name unknown0 up 1
6. Maershon Lerand Alveron up 1
7. Meluan Lackless-Alveron up 3!
8. Duchess Samista no relative change
9. Aculeus Lackless no relative change
10. (missing info) up 4
11. Baron Jakis up 4
12. Ambrose Jakis up 4

There is something about this that niggles at me. Could you please point me in the direction of the scene where the Princes Regent appear? The way the power lines are falling, the elborate ring system, PR's evasiveness on the Vintic succession.

What if the Princes Regent are not blood of Calanthis, but rather the heads of the hightest Vintish families, the heads of the northern, eastern, western, southern. Aculeus Lackless,though the tradition of Lady Lackless implies the power lays in the title of the Lady: Meluan. Maershon Alveron. Duchess Samistra, whose title is but one step below the monarchy, perhaps she and this farrel are of Calanthis. Then Alaitis and the whole southern family deceased, Baron Jakis taking power. Taking the Regency? Is Bredon, the Earl of Braed Bryt (sp?) 10. (missing info) up 4? Earl is another title that is close to the monarchy.

D. King Roderick Calanthis
D. (Queen)
D/Missing Heir, possibly Ariel
D/Missing Duchess Samistra
1. King Maerson Alveron. (also Prince Regent of eastern farrel)
2. Queen, the Lady Meluan Lackless
3. Prince Regent of the NF, Aculeus Lackless
4. PR of the WF D/Unkown.
5. PR of the SF, Baron Jakis
6. the Earl, Bredon

Bredon speaks of walking in a trap and turning it to your advantage. He knows that K is to woo Meluan on behalf of the Maer and what such a joining of power signifies. He watches but does not interfere. At what point will he reveal his ripost? There is an awful weight of political power on the Calanthis heir, whether as a bride or a corpse. K's offhand teasing of the truth may very well be revolutionary in the frame. Say whilst K was killing Roderick (or somesuch), rather than Ariel also dying or perhaps being kidnapped by K, she was actually rescued by D, who has secreted her away the rebels.

Breden's pagan rituals, D's song, yllish knots, the Lackless mysetry. Theres a massive powerful wildcard. Scrael. Skarpi. And the old players, of course...Here seems to be where the Vintish conflict and K's pusuit overlay. Much depends on what Bredon's goal truely is (power of the throne or a much older vendetta) and how Jakis makes their next move. In the coming stuggles it seems very likely power is used, we have seen Ambrose commit malefeasance. The Maer pushes back in a fundamental way; the Penitant king, impervious to demonic powers. Perhaps here, whatever K does outside the Eolian, with the shattered stones and what not, is used to uphold Alervon's tehlin righteousness.

This could fuel not just K's self blame, but also his need to tell his story, to dispell the propaganda. (The New Chandrian).
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
59. PangerBan
@Roger 57
But still, if it were a common saying, I am sure it would have come up more. Kvothe could have said it to Nina when he gave her the "amulet." That man in Tarbean who gave Kvothe the shoes... when Kvothe gave Trapis money... when Kvothe gave Denna the stuff for her lungs... When Ben gave Kvothe that book...
It just... still really feels like a Fae saying to me.

@ A Fox
Wow! ::sincere admiration::
It is very impressive.... Fortunatly or unfortunatly, I do not feel clever enough to either believe you or disprove. In this politics, I remain sitting quietly on the fence. Just one question I have:
What do you mean by you fear for the health of the ladies in the cast?

But I think Kvothe has some other reason for telling his story... I think he is playing some kind of beautiful game... except that I cannot figure either the rules or the prize.
thistle pong
60. thistlepong

You will note I wrote almost. The sentence was about the difference between the frame and the narrative, not the location of Newarre. Given that gbrell's location is easily within a hundred miles of The Pennysworth, some of the apologies for the lack of women in and around The Waystone are... hogwash.

Even so, you're misremembering some details. No woman ran a caravan in the Commonwealth. A Cealdish woman operated one in conjunction with her husband, which is apparently normal given their gendered labor taboos. The widow in Hallowfell was trying to run her husband's business and floundering. And she's the exception. Devi's running a criminal enterprise bolstered by fear of malfeasance, not a business. Roent made a point of warning Kvothe not to mess with Denna. So yah, alone but protected.

And yet, I'm not saying the Commonwealth is oppressive, just that we see a lot more overt evidence of feminine equality and/or liberty in Vintas. That shouldn't be ignored when we discuss the absence of significant women in the frame.

Fela is Modegan. Regarding Auri, the belief that second clothing is filthy is Cealdish, not Modegan. The rest are sort of process of elimination. Mola's not Cealdish. Meradin isn't Modegan; probably not Vintic. That sort of thing.
Steven Halter
61. stevenhalter
One thing to be careful of in these discussions is that we are asking the meta question of why the story is shaped the way that it is currently shaped. The question in this case is why women don't play a more prominent in the frame. Saying that they aren't prominent in the frame because they aren't prominent in a particular country really only pushes the question back one step. Then we would ask why they aren't given a role there and so on.
Keep in mind that everything in the story could have been manipulated with the result that it would be very natural for a woman to play a role in the events in the frame either as one of the main members or the more active supporting cast.
Steven Halter
62. stevenhalter
A Fox@58:The lack of women as a signifier of the general bleakness of the frame is an interesting theory. It could be a reason for writing things this way. On the other hand, it is fairly easy to see that a story with women in the frame could also show bleakness, so I'm not quite persuaded.
Gerd K
63. Kah-thurak
I think that the reasoning offers @58 is quite sound and might be the best explanation we will get besides "Pat didnt think about it".

What I find a little strange is how much value a numerical parity of female and male characters seems to have to some. Naturally Rothfuss could have changes numerous details in his story to achieve that. But would it still be "his story" then? I think there may be reasons for the lack of women in the frame. It may also be an oversight and it may also be a result of the transfer of personal experiance Pat may have had into his story (he might have known bars with mainly male regulars, which may or may not have been the statistic norm in the area he lived in). However the question is: Is this really a "bad thing"? Are women or female readers demeaned by this? Most people here stated that they didnt even realize it. So how bad can it be?

I personally think that it is an interesting fact, because there may be reasons for it, which might be interesting. But to consider it "bad" seems a little hypersensible to me.
thistle pong
64. thistlepong

I actually don't think there's a good way to determine why women are marginalized. I think Jo touches on that in the OP. The only conclusion we can come to safely is that they are.

I just found the notion of Vintas having antiquated gender roles completely at odds with tge text
Steven Halter
65. stevenhalter
Kah-thurak@63:I don't think that anyone has characterized it as bad. It is an interesting choice. As thistlepong@64 says, I don't think that we can come to any definitive conclusion (if there even is one to be arrived at) at this point in time. Maybe D3 will provide more insight. Of course, that doesn't mean that we can't try to find answers. That's never stopped us before. :-)
Steven Halter
66. stevenhalter
thistlepong@64:I agree with both of your statements. The only reason to even suspect that there might be an answer is that we have found so many "answers" in many places of the text. Hope springs eternal in the hunt.
thistle pong
67. thistlepong
A Fox@58

It’s an old tool and it hasn’t changed much from the first time I posted it in, ugh, May of 2011. Now I just copy and paste it from the Timeline post, here. And apparently neglect to correct the typos.

The Prince Regents appear both times Sim talks about Vintic peerage and Alaitis’s death is mentioned when Kvothe returns to Severen. I think the Vintic Prince Regents are meant to be different from your Princes Regent, particularly since the title exists concurrent with living monarchs and there are several of them.*

The theory is that each is lord over a cardinal quarter (farrel) of Vintas and the lesser nobles therein. The (missing info) might be the Prince Regent of the eastern farrel, but as that farrel isn’t named in the text, I filled it in at the lowest possible position to maintain the appropriate positions of Baron and Ambrose Jakis.

There’s no indication that they are blood relations of Roderic Calanthis. In fact, the southern farrel being in an “uproar” after Alaitis’s death suggests the title is an appointment.

The /up #/ notations indicate changes in position between Sim’s first account in NW and after the events of WMF. So, with four deaths in the line of succession, Jakis moves ahead four places. Meluan advances three places by marriage.

The reason I'm leery of Bredon as the Earl of Baedn-Brytt kind of has to do with this list. Earl is typically a higher rank than Duke or Duchess and certainly Baron. There’s even a mention that the Lackless lands were once a full Earldom, but they’ve fallen a bit. Seems like if there were Earls, they’d precede Samista and Jakis. Doesn’t mean he couldn’t get an Earldom during the civil war, but that seems like forcing the issue.

There’s still plenty of opportunity to shake things up. Jakis could be appointed Prince Regent of the southern farrel. Ambrose could wed the Calanthis heir. Kvothe could go sick house on the Prince Regents after killing Roderic, his wife, and any younglings. He does tend toward mass murder rather than serial killing. It’s also possible that the Alveron/Lackless union would be strong enough to make a power play following Roderic’s death. Denna singing her song in Renere could get a lot of folks killed... possibilities.

*there's also no reason to place the Prince Regent of one farrel ahead of or behind another...
thistle pong
68. thistlepong

I’ll go ahead and call the paucity of women bad. At the very least, it’s both unfortunate and socially irresponsible. Along with stevenhalter, I kind of hope the text provides some manner of explanation or justification. However, I’m willing to look at it dispassionately if not.

The fact that folks didn’t notice isn’t a sign that nothing’s wrong; it’s a sign that this text is nothing new. A sign that we’ve not only seen this setting before, but that it’s so comfortable we can’t and don’t imagine anything else. Anything better. We accept without question the marginalization of women.
John Graham
69. JohnPoint
thistlepong @67:

Just one slight nitpick:
Earl is typically a higher rank than Duke or Duchess and certainly Baron.
In the modern British peerage, Earl is the equivalent rank of the continental Count, and ranks below a Duke and above a Baron (technically, right below a Marquis and above a Viscount). As such, the "Earl of Baedyn-Bryt" would be a potential candidate for your #14-->#10 (missing info) spot in the hierarchy; I don't think that any of this precludes Bredon. Or necessitates Bredon either.
thistle pong
70. thistlepong
I'll certainly yeild to folks more educated about this sort of thing. Thanks.
Jesse Sayers
71. Fluvre
I think we already have a very good reason for Rothfuss to have written women in the 4C as he has written them, and the reason is Denna. If women were completely equal to men then Denna wouldn't be in the position she is in and she wouldn't be the same person. Kvothe talks to Deoch about her and Deoch points out that her only options are protitute or seamstress that gets taken advantage of. This setting needs to carry through to the frame. Denna travels around quite a bit so if there was anywhere where she could really make it completely on her own you can bet she'd go there and do her best. Changing how the world works would require changing either Denna's actions or her personality, and either wouldn't really work with the story as it stands.

On a tangent, does it bother anyone that the 7 words Kvothe says to Denna arent the same 7 words she says that he said to her (if that makes sense). Kindle p175 "I was wondering what you're doing here."-K. Kindle p 442 "You said, I was just wondering why you're here."- D. Is this a typo? or Rothfuss giving an indication of the maleability of memory?

Second side note- the ring of ice with a flaw within- When Kvothe remeets Denna at the Eolian he says he felt like cracked ice (someone applied pressure to the ice and it cracked)- is this the flaw Dennas influence on Kvothe.
Gerd K
72. Kah-thurak
thistlepong @68
I cant agree with that assessment. An all male group of bar regulars does not qualify as "marginalization of women". All male groups meeting on a regular basis in the same place are just as normal as all femal groups doing the same. I am pretty sure that allmost everyone has at one point or a another been a member of such a group. It is a normal thing and will therefore rarely stand out in a story.

I will not disagree with you, that there are books that marginalize women. That is not the point. But this one does not. And to take one of many settings in the book where no women are present and point it out as such makes no sense. It can either be random or there can be a clever reason for it, but it is not "socially irresponsible". Do you really want books where in every scene in every place men and women are allways present in the exact same number? It dont even see why that would make sense.
Steven Halter
73. stevenhalter
The impression we get in the frame is that K is telling his story and whenever there is an interruption in the telling we go back to the frame. This means that it is not just the case of a group of males meeting at the Inn, but rather that it is quite rare for women to come into the Inn at all over the course of several days so far.
What this means is not necessarily knowable at this point but it is a good discussion to have. As Jo points out (thanks!) all of these questions are good questions to think about as one is writing a story--thus this discussion is valuable as a learning exercise as well as looking at these particular volumes. To paraphrase John M. Ford:
Be aware of meaning. Witness. Iterate.
Gerd K
74. Kah-thurak
By several days you mean two or three I guess? ;-)

The problem with trying to be aware of meaning, is that one might start to project meaning where none exists. Actually I think that a lot of the theories discussed in the various re-reads on this site are cases of massive overinterpretation.
Steven Halter
75. stevenhalter
Many threories are almost certainly wrong or overinterpreted. Of course there are probably quite a few bits that haven't been looked at and should.
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
76. PangerBan
@kah-Thurak 72
I also do not think women are being marginalized in these books. If my option is counting....

I also agree that there are so many over talked and wild theories here. But the problem is, it is too fun to stop! And for all these theories, we have how many actual conclusions.....?
maybe.... Three? ::gentle laughter::
thistle pong
77. thistlepong
If only opinion mattered. There are no women among the primary cast in the frame. There are no women in the secondary cast in the frame, excepting the possibility, if we're being generous, of Mary Bentley, since she gets a walk-on line. Women are literally, literarily, kept at the margins, unremarked and unremarkable. These are true statements. One might have the opinion that they don't matter, even that they're positive. One may not opine that they are false.


I thought of John Ford telling interlocutors that his movies didn't mean anything skimming over your post.
Steven Halter
78. stevenhalter
thistlepong@77:lol--but an entirely different John Ford (the M makes all the difference).
thistle pong
79. thistlepong
Oh, I know. Nothing like an inappropriate juxtaposition, though.
Gerd K
80. Kah-thurak
If you pick carefully enough I am sure that you can find sections of practically every book in the world that will proove to be a grave offense to a group you might name. What I question is that it makes sense to do this. The isolated examination of the frame to proove "socially irresponsible" behavior by the author seems pretty inquisitorial to me.
Ashley Fox
81. A Fox
@80 This is the first post, of several, that will look at women through out the text. It happens to start with the frame. This seems logical as this is the entry point to the story for readers. Awknowledging an issue that is contempory, including it's consquences, and seeing how a work holds up in such a light is not necessarily looking to proove the worst.
Jeremy Raiz
82. Jezdynamite

Even after reading through everyone's comments in this thread, I agree with you.

I personally don't see anything unusual with (or find myself able to divine much meaning from) the lack of prominent women characters in the 2-3 days of elapsed time in the frame. It feels overly analytical to me (even for an overanalytical person like myself). But, I guess thats what we all do here.

I'm looking forward more to Jo's future posts (and the comments) on the depiction of female characters throughout the remainder of the book.
Alice Arneson
83. Wetlandernw
I have to admit, I find it moderately amusing... Not all that long ago, this group was talking about how Rothfuss is so good at making every word matter. We nitpik about nuances of words and word choice all over the place. Brandon Sanderson commented the other night, "Rothfuss slaves over every sentence." And now, all of a sudden, this same group of people are suggesting that his choices for the first- and second-tier frame characters might just be carelessness, that he forgot to think about the Politically Correct Position on Feminism in History and Literature. Seriously? Did we change authors or something?

If we were to go through the rest of the books and discover that Rothfuss (not Kvothe, but Rothfuss) clearly has a low view of women, or relies on lame stereotypes of women as a shortcut to writing, or never writes a woman more than skin-deep, we could look at the frame and say he did it just for convenience. We could, perhaps, accuse him of irresponsibility. More likely, we would put him on our "do not read" lists as a lame author and read something more to our liking. But we already know we're not going to find those things, right? We've all read the books? Useless as it may be, it seems to me that it would be far more productive to speculate on reasons it matters that there aren't women around Kote, than to suggest that Rothfuss was being lazy, or careless, or irresponsible. Looney theories are much more fun, and sometimes they even turn out to be right.
Gerd K
84. Kah-thurak
As I said above, I am pretty sure that a lot of the "every word matters" thinking is overinterpretation. Rothfuss is too clever to make everything a complicated puzzle. Sometimes things are what they seem to be, sometimes not. That is what makes this interesting. So as I said, it could be random (even if it is deliberately included randomness) and it could be something clever, but what we can agree on I guess is that it is not a consequence of Rothfuss's low opinion of women ;-)
Sahi Rioth
85. Sahirioth
Back after a long hiatus, and after looking at my previous post (a few blogs back) and the consequences it brought I realize I owe Jo a much belated apology: My word choice was vulgar at times and otherwise careless, and I did not in any way mean to call you a homophobe, or indicate you were comparable to one, which I suspect is what came across. Nor was I trying to condone objectification of women, but after reviewing my post I see that it quite likely led to that conclusion. I meant only to criticize your rhetoric. I didn't mean to offend, nor make an attack upon your person, and am sorry for having done so.

On topic, though: A possible but not often mentioned reason for leaving out women amongst the main characters (or, as here, characters in the frame) could be simply to enhance the contrast with the story-within-the-story. As mentioned above, to highlight what is lacking. It could also be out of a desire to be careful: perhaps the perfection of the frame is even more important than the rest of the novel, to such a degree that Rothfuss didn't feel confident that his ability to accurately portray female characters would be sufficient. In my opinion, PR is far better at writing male than female characters - but in no way do I agree that the ladies of the tale come off as mere devices, as mentioned above.
Steven Halter
86. stevenhalter
PR paying attention to what he is writing does not preclude him from making mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes.
At this point we can't know whether the lack of women in the frame is intentional or unintentional or even if it is a mistake or not--D3 may expose more on this.
Everyone here likes the books (or we wouldn't be here) and I think that everyone can agree that PR is certainly not actively hostile to women.
Pointing out areas where the books may have flaws is a perfectly reasonable activity. It does not mean that the work is bad or the author is malign--just that there are other possible paths that might have resulted in a book that was even better.
Examining one's reactions to assertions that one disagrees with is also a useful activity.
Gerd K
87. Kah-thurak
Obviously you assume that having women in the frame would have made the book "better". How is that acutally possible if the fact was only "discovered" after deliberate and carefull deconstruction? It may have made the book more "political correct" in the view of some people. That is not the same thing as "better".
Steven Halter
88. stevenhalter
Kah-thurak@87:Not obvious at all. What I said (see @86) is that there are possible paths that might have made the book better. Note no assertion of definite betterness.
Now, to make a definite assertion, I see no reason that a woman couldn't have been in the frame story. Here are a couple of thought experiments to try:
Imagine that the book had been written with one of the Inn regulars as a female. Imagine that it was done well. Would this be a problem? If so, why?
Now, imagine that all of the Inn regulars were women. Would this have caused any questions? If so, why?
Not noticing a lack of women is an interesting thing in and of itself. I am quite glad that Jo pointed this out; obviously I should have noted it before.
Gerd K
89. Kah-thurak
I dont see a problem with having an all female group of regulars... though depending on how this was written it would have changed that small part of the story quite a bit. To be quite honest it does not really matter to me whether there are male or female characters. There are characters that are well done and characters that are not well done and they can fit in the story or not. These things are what is important to me. The numerical distribution between the sexes is of little interest in it self. To me it is plausible to have a male group at the bar. A female group or a mixed group are also plausible, but that does not make the choice that was made any less valid. In this case it simply doesnt matter.

To present a counter point, some months ago I read the Riverworld series by Farmer. These are older books and the mindset of the author clearly shows this. There was only one female character that was really more than a companion to the male characters and that one had to be an ultra feminist. That did not seem plausible to me and therefore it lessened a book that was quite well done in other areas.
John Graham
90. JohnPoint
OK, I went through last night and made a list of all the people who are specifically referenced in the frame (not including generic statements like "the women flirted").

Here's what I came up with, in order of apperance, astericks indicate that they have 1 or more spoken lines (I could well have missed one or more...):

6 mercenaries (commander* and *, maybe **)
3 Caravan guards (1*)
two young men, one sandy*, one dark
2 male wagoneers
Caleb (blacksmith)*
Old Man Benton
young wife's husband
Mayor Lant*
Hap Bentley
Ben Bentley
two soldiers**

2 female wagoneers
Wives who buy from tinker
Girl playing "Chandrian" game with other children
Widow Creel
Two little girls at Waystone
Young wife at Waystone
Thin woman with pinched face (Eli's wife)*
Mary Bentley (speaks about cider, fence, Ben, and taking Syl to privy)*
Syl Bentley

Edit to add: In addition to excluding "generic" references, I also excluded characters who are mentioned but we don't actually see, like Rose or Shep's wife.
thistle pong
91. thistlepong

I think we're pretty much in agreement, there. Neat.


This could become a tool as useful as Imaginary Linguistics or the Timeline. If you're interested in getting further into it, please contact me.

So, like, my jihad is knowing when I'm being trolled.

If you pick carefully enough I am sure that you can find sections of practically every book in the world that will proove to be a grave offense to a group you might name. What I question is that it makes sense to do this. The isolated examination of the frame to proove "socially irresponsible" behavior by the author seems pretty inquisitorial to me.
You don’t have to pick with this one, though. There are three men on page one. There are three main characters in the frame, all men. There are six Felling regulars, all men. It doesn’t require, how did you put it, deliberate and careful deconstruction. I noticed immediately. Opening the book with the question in mind is all it takes.

Anyway, who was proving anything? The careful reader will note that I opened with “I’ll go ahead and call...” If I wanted to make case, I’d note that the criteria were Pat's, not mine. I’d quote him outlining the boundaries of his feminism. I’d point to his Goodreads reviews counting women in texts and assembling taxonomies of presented roles and characteristics. I’d challenge him on his own grounds and find him wanting. Then I’d drop the mic and moonwalk off the stage.
J Town
92. Marco.
You raise the topic of Pat's feminism and I'll pile on:
I had a professor years ago who said something that will always stick with me - "There are people who want to be artists and there are people who want to make art." My clumsy analog - "There are people who want to be feminists and people who want to advance the cause of feminism." I see Pat as the former based on his blog writings.

That being said, I don't see a major miss in the frame for the lack of women. Is he employing well worn tropes? Yep. Would the story have been improved much if he'd broken those and made a couple of the regulars at the bar women? ::shoulder shrug::
Gerd K
93. Kah-thurak
So, exclusivly analyzing the frame is not picking. Ok. Then we will just have to disagree here. I guess having the "question" in mind is really what it takes here. Either you are a strong believer in politcal correctness or not.
Steven Halter
94. stevenhalter
Jo has said that this is merely the first of several articles. The frame is clearly a separate section from the main story (that's why we call it a frame). So, no selective picking.
Gerd K
95. Kah-thurak
Not by Jo, no. But if you want to call Pat "socially irresponsible" for this, you have to ignore pretty much everything else that is going on in the book.
Steven Halter
96. stevenhalter
Kah-thurak@95:I don't/haven't called Pat socially irresponsible. There are many things to think about is my main point of emphasis.
Gerd K
97. Kah-thurak
Thisltepong did though (to be exact he said it is socially irresponsible at the very least). I dont have any problem at all with analyzing the setup of the frame and the fact that there are no really relevant female characters in there. What I find absurd is to base an ethical judgement on it.
- -
98. hex
So Rothfuss posted a picture of his D3 manuscript on Google+:

A transcript of the first page (brief instructions to the reader) can be found here:

It also appears that Pat uses an IBM Model-M keyboard.
Steven Halter
99. stevenhalter
hex@98:Coolness. D3 inches closer.
thistle pong
100. thistlepong
Indeed. Thanks, hex.

Kah, just let it rest. I'm never gonna convince you; even if, y'know, the author in question would technically agree with me. I understand from skimming your posts that this is kind of your thing, but it's edging toward the personal and it's not adding anything to the discussion. We see things differently.
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
101. PangerBan

::delighted laughter:: ::impatient dancing about::
John Graham
102. JohnPoint
Thistle@91 -- I sent you a message via your "shoutbox" but in case it didn't go through: I'd be interested in working on a character list. Don't know whether I have time for a complete reread right now... What's your thought?

Hex@98 -- thinks for the links! Looks like that's ready for beta-readers! Woo hoo. That means we're actually getting closer. (Now, if only I could become a PR beta-reader...)
George Brell
103. gbrell

Well, you could become one for $10k. That's how much the auctioned favor from PR cost in this year's WorldBuilders auction. And that'd have to be your favor.

I think it'd be easier to clandestinely find out who the beta-readers are and...dispose of them.

I don't know that it's been explicitly suggested, but I'd be interested in doing another re-read, perhaps at a more granular level.
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
104. PangerBan
@ 103 gbrell

Dispose of them and nick their manuscript! A dangerous occupation, to be a beta-reader...

Yes! Please lets do another re-read! I'd be interested too!
Wallace Forman
105. WallaceForman
I mostly agree with what Kah-thurak has said above. My other thoughts on the matter:

I enjoy applying the Bechdel test to movies as much as the next person, and I do find it phenomonologically interesting to contrast how male and female characters are used in fiction. It can help us to understand something about how people may think about gender roles, whether by instinct or according to their cultural expectations.

Jo's post is titled "Every woman is like an instrument." I think its worth pointing out that this statement by Kvothe is closely and probably intentionally paralleled by Penthe's discussion about women taking anger from men. Rothfuss is definitely thinking about how he is portraying gender roles and relationships, at least in Wise Man's Fear. We might question the choices he has made, or whether they have achieved the goals he intended them to. I personally perceive the series to remain rather male-centric thus far.

That said, I don't find male-centric fiction to be inherently morally or ethically objectionable. Nor would be female-centric, or strictly egalitarian fiction. Writers can write what they want and readers can read what they want, and who is to say they should want differently?

It's logically possible that fiction can be more interesting when writers work harder to craft more egalitarian gender roles. Tastes differ (possibly differences in taste regarding genders in fiction themelsves correlate to gender?), and I do know some people who prefer strong female characters. Novelty is also definitely important.

I have some doubts about this prescription as a general rule though. Precomitment to egalitarian gender representations arbitrarily cramps the available story space, and mechanically excludes some perfectly entertaining, but not equally-representative, narratives. What matters is how successfully a story interacts with the readers expectations - not adherence to a rule of strict equity.

Moreover, fantasy in particular is built around a set of cliches and conventions. This turns some people completely off the genre, but I think it is part of the appeal for others. The cliches exist for a reason - they are inherently vivid and engaging, they comfort readers with the familiar, and they provide writers a tested framework for story-telling. To some extent, gender roles are part of fantasy's conventions.

Deviation from convention can be interesting, but sometimes it can be awkward and unwieldy. The conventions work, so sometimes the deviations just don't. As I see it, Rothfuss's main deviation from stereotyped fantasy gender roles is in Ademre, a possibly matriarchal society where female promiscuity is normal and guiltless and women are better fighters than men. Perhaps some people found these sections to be particularly interesting because of their novelty, but to me they felt weird and required too much suspension of disbelief.
thistle pong
106. thistlepong
I don't know that it's been explicitly suggested, but I'd be interested in doing another re-read, perhaps at a more granular level.
Jo suggested a chapter by chapter reread and I mentioned that at one a week we'd be well into 2018 at the time.

But yes. absolutely.
George Brell
107. gbrell

I figure if we combine the super short chapters, we could get that down to 2017 easy. Which means we'd only have to wait for a couple more years for D3 to come out. ::sarcasm::
John Graham
108. JohnPoint
I'm also game for another reread, particularly at "a more granular level."

Since it appears that D3 is heading out for beta-reading, maybe we'll actually see something in the next 2 years or so. Which brings up an interesting idea: "D3 publication date lottery." Everyone gets to pick one date for the eventual publication of D3. Closest one (without going over?) wins bragging rights and eternal glory?

Anyone else in?
Alf Bishai
109. greyhood
Jo - when you send out a manuscript to beta-readers (do you?), what does that mean in terms of publishing date?
J Town
110. Marco.

march 2104 FTW!

My rough memory is that it was about 6 months from when Pat announced he was done done done to when WMF hit the shelves.

Back off another 4 months or so for edits after beta readers and 2 months or so for the beta readers to do their thing.
thistle pong
111. thistlepong
I have two: first to claim one can have it and I'll take the other.

March 17 2015

June 23 2015
Dave West
112. Jhirrad
I'm going to say 7/21/15 as my guess for D3 release. 7 for the Chandrian, and 7x3 as third times pays for all. And that's a Tuesday.
Nisheeth Pandey
113. Nisheeth
February 28th, 2015 2014.
A year and a day from today!

EDIT: Thanks to gbrell @123, I corrected my typo. :P
thistle pong
114. thistlepong
On second thought, I'll take my March date for mostly boring reasons. Both other books released in March. Gives him plenty of fair weather promotional touring and convention time. And the 17th is the closest Tuesday to the Ides; if he can swing a "beware my book," he will.

The June date was pulled from the alchemical hat, but poorly reasoned. What people call fun.
John Graham
115. JohnPoint
My thought was early March, 2015, so I'll go with the first Tuesday: 3 March, 2015.

Though, I *hope* that Marco is correct...
thistle pong
116. thistlepong
You don't think 2104 is kind of a long wait, John?
John Graham
118. JohnPoint
@ thistle: longer than I'd like, yes. But Marco is right-on about the timeline last time. Pat was looking for his final round of beta-reviewers in May 2010, and then indicated it was finished sometime that fall. So, (nearly) a year from beta-review to publication at the absolute least.

And honestly, my feeling is that we're earlier in the review process this time around. There could well be major revisions still to come. I'd be very happy to see it a year from now (since I'm expecting it to be a fair amount longer than that!)
Dave West
119. Jhirrad
JohnPoint @118 - I think you're missing the juxtaposition here. It seems that Marco had a typo, and put in 2104 instead of 2014. While I know we'll be waiting a while, I think 90 years is a little much...
Ashley Fox
120. A Fox
I'll admit I'd be pissed off if it came out when I was into my centenial years. Im going to say Sept 28th 2014. Which may be unlikely, but thats what popped into my head :)
John Graham
121. JohnPoint
LOL! Thanks -- I totally missed the typo (both in Marco's answer and in Thistlepong's comment).

That's what happens when you skim -- I saw the 2xx4, and knew that there was a 0 and a 1 for the xx. Just didn't notice the order. ::sheepish grin::
J Town
122. Marco.
Typo?! What's with people on the internet thinking they can put words in others mouths? I said 2104, and I meant it.
George Brell
123. gbrell

And no one has pointed out Nisheeth's obvious typo.

My guess: November 25, 2014. I went to and asked for a random date between Feb. 27, 2014 (year from today) and Dec. 31, 2015, specifying that it needed to be a Tuesday.
Ashley Fox
124. A Fox
Ok, since we're smiling over the doh mos...can someone please explain all the Tuesdays? I'm obv missing something!
Alice Arneson
125. Wetlandernw
A Fox - One of the publishing gurus would have to tell you why, but it seems that (in the USA, anyway) books always come out on Tuesday. No idea why, but there it is.
George Brell
126. gbrell

Much like all (well, most...) movies come out on Fridays.

Video games and DVDs are like books in usually coming out on Tuesdays.
Roger Pavelle
127. RogerPavelle
Put me down for July 1, 2014 so I can buy it for my birthday.
J Town
128. Marco.

I think Nisheeth has it right.

After all, time works differently in the fae....
J Town
129. ASR
I constantly re-read these books and find new stuff or connections. A lot of things I thought of have already been said. However, there was a discussion of what "narrative septagy" meant. To me, sept means Seven (septem in latin). I took "narrative septagy" to mean a sort of literary technique that divides stories into seven parts. This means Kvothe is covering his real interest by saying "Oh, I wanted to research if the Chandrian were fantastical creations that conform to narratives of seven parts" or something like that. I'm not saying this well but I think you guys get what I mean.
J Town
130. ASR
One more thing that I haven't found in this discussion. In Book 1, when Elodin takes Kvothe to the rookery, he introduces Kvothe to his old giller. The large majority of what he (Elodin's old giller) says is nonsense and he doesn't even acknowledge Kvothe, but one thing he says is "Next time, don't bring thunder with you." That struck me as him tacitly acknowledging that Kvothe was there since one aspect of "Maedre" is "Thunder."

This then led me to think that maybe what causes potential Namers to go mad is that they awake their sleeping mind to see SOME aspects of the world clearly but not all. This type of fractured thinking causes them to lose their grip on reality.

More on naming, we know from seeing other characters use Naming, that they turn their head as if listening for something. This suggests that you can't just "know" a name and use it at will instantly, you need to listen first to find it given your current context to use it. This type of "Listening" is referred to in Hespe's Jax story. This adds credence that Naming is not easy. When Kvothe calls Felurian's name he refers to it as "four lines of music." That could mean a hundred different sounds, much different than "Maedre" or "Cyphus." This leads me to wonder, are true names like "Maedre" or "Cyphus" different than the long "ever-changing" names that are used when actually naming? If Kvothe knows the "true names" of the Chandrian, can he just be like "Yo Ferule, sit still" and Cinder is stopped in his tracks? I think it must be more complicated than that and when Haliax refers in D1 to the "inner turnings" of Cinder's name, I believe he is talking about the "four lines of music" style name, not simply "Ferule." Hopefully someone smarter than me will be able to say this more succinctly.
J Town
131. ASR
One more thing (sorry for blabbing, I just can't figure out if these things have been mentioned). When Kvothe is with Felurian, she tells him "Once in Murella, I ate a special fruit etc" when she is talking about the cool things the Shapers made. Kvothe asks what "Murella" was and she says it was a place that existed before Fae. However, I wonder why Kvothe would ask her because in Skarpi's story in D1, Skarpi refers to the "twin cities: Murella and Mirella" that existed at the time of Selitos/Amyr creation. So Kvothe has obviously heard the name before. Perhaps this is just an oversight on Rothfuss' part.
John Graham
132. JohnPoint
Hi ASR -- welcome. I like your thoughts about narrative septagy and about naming/Elodin's giller. Your thoughts re what causes Namers to crack seem quite possible to me.

Re Murella -- I interpret that passage as Kvothe being a total pain in the rear, and asking Felurian for details about everything. IIRC, he actually asks if Murella was in the Fae, not what it was. If you combine that with all his how? questions (the repetition of which is why she refers to him as her man-owl), he's basically pushing her everything he can get. At one point, he even says something along those lines. So, I don't think he's trying to find out what Murella was, but rather where and when.

(edit for typo)
Ashley Fox
133. A Fox
@ Wet & Gbrell. Cheers, it rings some vague bells. Issues of grace? ;)

@ ASR Hello thar. I know I've posted of thunder before. I've also postulated that those is the rookery sleeping minds are awake and that they cannot shut them down. Like when K calls the wind and Elodin has to name him to ground him. If that had not worked would he had been placed in the rookery? What is it that makes you think they are in a half way state? ::curious:: Also have you had a look at the timeline yet? There is a curiousity. It seems that Elodin cracked around the same time as K was concieved/born. Any thoughts?

@JP ::amused agreement::

Also on a random note: I watched 'Adaptation' (a film) tonight. and I couldnt help but wonder if K is doing something similar, what with his telling a story, the Ruhs rep with stories, the 'fake' stories and the general subversion that goes on in these books....
thistle pong
134. thistlepong
A Fox@133

::glee:: Kote's twin's version has the trial and the pirates!
J Town
135. ASR
I think that Elodin didn't necessarily name Kvothe entire. I think he knew enough to douse his sleeping mind. Then again, who knows, since we know how you say a name changes the effect. I think the people who are cracked have maybe seen too much. It is strongly implied in the novels that there are plenty of creatures who walk around hidden. We know from Felurian that when the moon is full in the mortal world, it is easiest for Fae creatures to crossover. Additionally, we know that Auri doesn't like to come above things when there's too much moon and the patients in the Rookery weren't allowed outside because a storm was coming and because "the moon's getting full." So I think that they have seen some of the Fae monsters or something that drives them crazy.

Does anyone else feel that the world before the Namers vs Shapers war was just like the "Age of Legends" in Wheel of Time? To my mind, Namers vs Shapers is like natural selection vs genetic engineering (shapers being the geneticists) .

As to Elodin cracking / Kvothe's birth. I think that the Lackless family is responsible for somehow keeping the world safe (stem the tide or "hold the flood" if you will) . I think at any given time only one member of the bloodline can maintain this protection - they are able to touch the sides of the box and do some magic perhaps? I think when Laurian (Natalia) ran off, perhaps this caused some issue and the world was unsafe and Elodin saw too much. I'm clearly reaching and don't seriously believe much of this, just thinking out loud.

One thing I constantly think about is this: Who are the enemies? Obviously the Chandrian is bad. But we also know that at one time in the world, demons walked freely (Trapis' story). Where did they go? Who did Lanre command to destroy Myr Tyriniel? Were they all banished to Fae? Perhaps. Maybe keeping them away from the world is related to the Lackless box. We know from Skarpi's story that the Amyr was founded to oppose the Chandrian's plots and those who chose not to be Amyr became invisible angels that only the most powerful namers can see.

Has the "white star" of power been discussed? We know that Kvothe sees himself with it in Felurian's eyes. We know from Skarpi's story that Tehlu is the greatest of the angels and "Then the fire settled on their foreheads like silver stars and they became at once righteous and wise and terrible to behold." Does this mean that Kvothe accessed some other power? Does every namer (seen in the right light) have a silver star of power when Naming?

Also I found this line that Aleph says most interesting:
"you must punish or reward only what you yourself witness from this day forth" I was skeptical that perhaps the Amyr helped Kvothe's lightning, but after seeing that they are allowed to punish AND reward, it seems likely. Also, I suppose it explains why the angels can't just assault the Chandrian directly: they have to witness it? I dunno, seems thin.

Well that's all for now, I always have good ideas before I go to bed and then when it comes time to write them here I've forgotten the connections like a dream.
George Brell
136. gbrell

We've talked a little about the "white star," but not much more than you've identified. It seems to imply a congruence between the Tehlin Angels and Naming power (unless you think Kvothe became an Angel). What's most interesting to me about it is that it indicates the second avenue on which Kvothe is developing: we've discussed repeatedly that Kvothe often acts as an Amyr, doing what is "right" regardless of the consequence, but here he is becoming like an Angel, and as Skarpi's story points out those two groups are not always in alignment.

One point in addition to what you've written is whether there is a connection between the Angels and the Singers that Haliax mentions (as separate from the Sithe and the Amyr). We know that the Angels "sang songs of power" and that's what Kvothe does in his contest with Felurian, sings "four clear lines of song." My personal theory is that there is a distinction between Namers and Singers (which would tie in cleanly with Kvothe's deep-seated distaste for poetry, words without song) and only Singers possess the "white star" we've heard of twice.
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
137. PangerBan
Does Auri not say that she does not like the moon to see her? ::unsure::
I did always think (privetly) that Auri was not actually a cracked student but something else. I know people have talked on this, however.

Not conviced that Elodin craked for Kvothe's birth.
... I do not think the Lackless boxs needs magic done it it, because Melun has it and she knows nothing. I think it just has to be kept safe and not opened... I am also sure that Denna could read what the story-knots say and enlighten us all. (Her braids annoy me so much! Every time I read her with a braid before Kvothe learns them I am like what does it SAY? Tell me what magic she is wearing!!)

I think Kvothe could certainly be rightous and terrible to behold...
And I don't think every Namer has a star when Naming. We would have seen it on Fela when she named Stone, and on Dal when Naming Fire...
J Town
138. ASR
137 - Just to argue the counterpoint, I think it is somewhat implied that the white star can only be seen by the sleeping mind or a Namer of sufficient power. I think had there been any angels around when Kvothe saw his own white star reflected, he would have seen them also. Kvothe's sleeping mind has access to all names it seems like and learning to access that state is what Naming is all about.

Also this might speak to why people get cracked - having access to that state and then losing it - Kvothe cries when he loses the ability of seeing the world as it truly is with Felurian - others may not have the ability to process it in the same way and go mad instead. It reminds me of the stories of people going mad from being with Felurian - they have lost something that was outside the scope of their understanding much in the same way ex-namers do.

As for Auri being scared of the moon: when we first meet Auri, Kvothe is trying to get her to come out of her hiding spot and says:
"“There’s not much moon tonight,” I said in my best encouraging tones. “Are you sure you don’t want to come up?”"

ALSO Kvothe bursting into tears after losing his power in the Felurian fight reminded me of him crying after playing Savien at the Eolian.
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
139. PangerBan
"ALSO Kvothe bursting into tears after losing his power in the Felurian fight reminded me of him crying after playing Savien at the Eolian..."
-- ALSO and crying after playing Three Years Waterside.

I know Kvothe says that about the moon... but much later on, Auri is on the roof staring up at the moon. I really cannot think she is just another cracked student... I think she has been around too long without getting older. Maybe I am wrong about Auri saying she does not like the moon to see her...
But she DOES give Kvothe the key to set the moon free again, yes?

But I am taking your point about the star being only seen by other Namers in their Naming frame of mind. I think it is probably right.
I wonder if he would have seen that dark thing that swooped at him a Felurian, if he had been in his Nameing mind....

Maybe you are also right about the people in the Rookery. They see two worlds at once, tangled togther like threads...
J Town
140. ASR
We don't know the significance of any of Auri's gifts as far as I know. At first I thought we should take her literally but on a re-read when Kvothe says one of his gifts having to do with the moon she says "I already said the moon." This implies that she is just messing around as well and knows that he is too. That being said, Kvothe has an uncanny ability to name things correctly despite not knowing the truth - I suspect some of Auri's gifts along with Master Ash could be part of this.

Also, given the events in the framing story (monsters coming into the mortal world), it's not unreasonable to think that Kvothe does eventually free the moon. After all, if the moon is always in the mortal world, then all of Faerie will constantly feel the pull to go into the mortal world. Maybe there is a benefit of having the moon go back and forth since it keeps the peace or something. I'm sure someone has talked about this since it's a fairly obvious point.
J Town
141. ASR
One thing I've been thinking about lately is why I speculate so much about this book vs the tons of other fantasy I read. Even Game of Thrones, I am interested in what happens but the story and its predictions haven't stuck with me the way these books have. I think a lot of it has to do with Rothfuss' style of constantly implying things. I'm not sure if it's good or bad, but I've noticed even on his blog that he always writes as if things are more than they are. Everything has an implication of being A Big Deal where we are analyzing a lot of little things to form a big picture. I am skeptical as to how many answers we're actually going to get in D3. I am struggling to manage my expectations. I think the story will be quite woe-to-Kvothe heavy but I doubt we will get much more clarification on the Creation War and if there is any relation between Iax and Haliax and Encannis. Then again if Aleph has the angels and the Amyr, it stands to reason that the anti-Aleph has the archangels and the Chandrian.
Steven Halter
142. stevenhalter
ASR@141:Yes. PR has added a great deal of depth to the story that hides just underneath. When you bother to pry the lid off, it just keeps spilling out curious little treasures.
Jo Walton
143. bluejo
Greyhood: Sorry for the delay, I was away. My immediate urge is to say "Forever". But it varies a lot. I think the shortest was 10 months and the longest was almost 3 years. But March 2014 seems very plausible to me. And I'm terribly excited at the thought. And that probably means review copies just before Christmas.

Sahiroth: Glad to see you back and glad I misunderstood you -- I mean, sorry I misunderstood you but glad you didn't mean what I thought!
Brandon Lammers
144. wickedkinetic
It occurs to me that there may be a very good reason for the D1 bar crowd to be all male.

1 - Kvoth is helplessly/stereotypically/white-knightishly heroic whenever he is colocated with women-in-peril (damsel-in-distress) etc. perhaps the most noble/likable (if again, stereotypical-hero) thing about him is his self-sacrifice and protective instincts where Auri, Fela, Denna, etc are involved in dangerous situations in the story.

if there were woman present at K's Bar-and-Stew then it might have been extremely out-of-character (and possibly distracting) for him to stay 'in-character' as Kote when the skin-changer walks in - though I don't recall exactly who all was present for that little event - there would have been the same issue if chronicler was female and the rogue-soldiers came in to the pub....

just a thought. also I think this may have been mentioend previously - but google-books has April Fools Day (4/1/2013) as the publication date for book 3 - which I thought was incredibly funny......
Carl Banks
145. robocarp
Bit of a change of subject (resuming discussion from SpecSum 18).

I made a tabular comparison of all the Creation War stories, according to source. I thought I'd share today. (I hope the link works.)

Additions and corrections welcome (especially if you can think of any addtional sources of information).

I basically divided the sources into three categories: Early Creation War stories (Hespe and Felurian), Late Creation War stories (Skarpi, Shehyn, Denna, and K's parents), and Other (mostly Bast, with a few tidbits from elsewhere).

The sheet tabulates the number of independent confirmations of particular points of the story, giving a first-order measure of confidence. I also have a column indicating whether a particular point was found in both the Early Stories and the Late Stories. Before I made this table, if you'd have asked me quickly how much overlap there was between Felurian and Skarpi, I'd have said, "The stories probably have several points in common". But as you'll see, the stories share almost no points, and this is one reason I earlier proposed a crazy theory, that I don't even believe, that the war caused by the theft of the moon wasn't the Creation War. (Yes, I do realize the Bast connected theft of the moon to the war called the Creation War. That's one reason it was a crazy theory.)

Note that the Probablies I list under Denna are based on Kvothe's comment that it was basically the same story as Skarpi's.
Nisheeth Pandey
146. Nisheeth
@145, roboccarp:
The link works. And really, wow. This is great work.

In Row 37, I tihnk it ould be better to make Arliden as Probably. It is:
Lanre confessed that his name was now Haliax.
He started looking for Lanre, and then got to the Chandrian, but name Haliax is not even mentioned until he is seen.

In Row 44
...and the six other cities burned.
Denna's song ened at the point where Lanre is cursed. Relevant quote:
So much depends upon where you stop a story, and hers ended when lanre was cursed by Selitos.
EDIT: Forget the second one. I remembered that Myr tariniel was the first to fall. Reading the story again, I find that it was the last.
Carl Banks
147. robocarp

Thanks for the praise. :) For Row 37, I remember concluding that that item was specifically a "yes" but I don't remember why. I'll go back and check. For Row 44, I'll probably downgrade it to maybe. I forgot that one other reason for "Probably" on Denna was that her song was called "Seven Sorrows" which led me (and others) to believe that the song referred to seven cities burning, but I think Probably is too strong a word for that. Also, note that in Skarpi's story Selitos saw the cities burning before cursing Lanre, so it might be true in Denna's as well. Thanks for the feedback.
Nisheeth Pandey
148. Nisheeth
@147, robocarp:
I edited my post before you replied, and forgor to post the edit. I noticed that afterwards. I think Probably is fine there.
Carl Banks
149. robocarp

S'ok. I think your objection to Row 37 is correct--Kvothe's parents do have Lanre becoming a Chandrian, but no mention of Haliax. I'll fix it. Plus I noticed a story point I forgot to add.
Nisheeth Pandey
150. Nisheeth
@149, roboarp:
Was the new plot point the one about Lanre's resurrection by Lyra?
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
152. PangerBan
@ Robocarp
That timeline is amazing! ::vast understatement::

It really makes me see just how little proof of anything we actually have...

Iax and Jax and the stealing of the moon worries me greatly.
And there is clearly more than one enemy, because you have the shaper who stole the moon (probably Iax) locked behind the doors of stone before Lanre's reserection and the 'enemy' moving like a worm in fruit. That makes two enemies. What happened to the wormy fruit one?

Another thing worries me. Skarpi seems to know a lot. Why why why does he say "Haliax and the Seven" when everyone else goes on about there being only seven total?
Patrick Stultz
153. Audion
@145 You could probably get a couple more maybe's in there with the story of Encanis.
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
154. PangerBan
I have just thought of something.

I've read that people think inside the Lackless box is the rock with took the eye of Selitos. But it seems to me that the box might contain a key... After all, we know there was a split in the family. One side of the family guards the doors of stone that trap the enemy.
The other side guards the key.
"Lockless" because they have the box with no lid and with no locks, but what if they Lackeys were given that name because they lacked the key? The Locklesses guards the key, and the Lackeys guard the locks.

But of course you need seven things to open those doors... a dress, a ring, a word, candle, box, rocks and a dream, apperently. Kvothe is going to look very silly when he dresses up for this.
Carl Banks
155. robocarp

Thought about it, but I think the Encanis story has diverged too much to compare it synoptically with the Creation War stories.
Carl Banks
156. robocarp

Shehyn's "enemy" is Alaxel beyond reasonable doubt: one can tell by careful reading (and accounting) of her story. Basically, the enemy poisons seven against the empire, but only six of the seven betray their cities, one changes his or her mind and doesn't. So there is an enemy and six traitors, making seven. There are seven Rhinta, so the enemy must be one of them. Ergo, the lord of seven, Alaxel, is the enemy.

This, however, might provide a clue why Skarpi says "Lanre and his Chandrian". The Original Seven might have included the one who did not betray a city; there would have been Lanre and seven Chandrian. However, when one of the conspirators didn't go through with it, the Seven came to include Lanre. You know, to keep things tidy.

There are actually several indications there might have originally been an "eighth Chandrian". There's Skarpi's odd phrasing. Shehyn calls Alaxel the lord of seven, which could ambiguously imply either seven or eight total Rhinta. Maybe the poem originally had a tenth line that was deleted. Maybe that's why Shehyn says Rhinta's a better name: it's not any sort of profound naming magic; it's that Chandrian is inaccurate. There's the vase in Trebon, showing eight people, which Kvothe interprets as the Amyr attacking the Chandrian. Maybe that's not it: maybe this fellow is the Chandrian who reneged.

If it's true, who do you think the lost Chandrian is? The Amyr on the vase always reminded me of Andan, and I had a bit of a throwaway theory that it was Taborlin the Great.
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
157. PangerBan
Shehyn's enemy is Alaxel. Yes, I see this now. There is a kind of neatness to it, having one enemy locked away only to be replaced by the one who was the greatest hero.
There were eight plotters but only seven betrayers, but then why would the one who skipped out still be made Rhinta?

If there is a missing Chandrian, I would guess it was the... Not-a-tree-creature that I can never spell. He said Cinder gave him a bad turn once....
That would explain Skarpi's phrasing and also why most everyone says there are only seven. Only seven showing up and making mischief. And yes, i love the idea of that being why Sheyen says Rhinta is a better name. And she's not only one who says that. Also the Cth thing... Funny how Kvothe always still calls them Chandrian in his story, when so many people give him 'better' names.
Maybe he did kill one, so now they can legitimately be called the Seven.
J Town
158. dozier
lack of women: I don't think PR is marginalizing women, I think it's just an element of the story. sure PR may have wanted women in the narrative, but the question is, would Kote want women in his inn? He feels responsible for the state the world is in, and although we don't know what happens to Denna, we can assume it's something bad. And from the story, we know Kvothe has a strong instinct to protect women. (and i don't think it's because he's a sexist and thinks women can't fend for themselves, i think it's because his mom was murdered and he felt partially responsible, like if he had been there he could've done something) Because of this, if he now sees himself as the most dangerous threat to women, or if he feels he is no longer capable of protecting them, it would make sense for him to just avoid them altogether, which is why he doesn't even bother to learn the names of the women in town. even if a woman did walk in the bar, i think k would be so cold and unfriendly she'd eventually stop coming.

missing chandrian: maybe it was lyra
Jeremy Raiz
159. Jezdynamite
I wonder if Lyra - being a namer that rivals Selitos, Aleph and Iax power - was the one who was poisoned by the enemy but ended up remembering the Lethani and not betraying her city.

No one seems to know what actually happened to Lyra. Perhaps she isn't dead.

Does that fit at all?
J Town
160. Scottworth
This theory isn't related to the women discussion, but I wasn't sure where else to post it, and Jo told me to post it in the most recent thread on the group, so here goes.

I'm on my third read of NMW, and just read the part where Kvothe gets attacked by the two thugs, whom he assumes were sent by Ambrose.

I don't think Ambrose sent them, and it never really sat well with me how there's no real evidence Ambrose did send them. Kvothe just assumes they did, and we're led to just assume he's right. I saw this mentioned by others too, but they seem to all think they weren't looking for Kvothe at all. I think they were looking for Kvothe, but that the Chandrian sent them, more specifically probably Cinder sent them. We know the thugs were in Anilin, and they apparently made some mistake there, and they also lost Kvothe's trail twice, meaning they've definitely been tracking him long enough for it to not make sense Ambrose sent them. But (to me) it would make sense if Cinder sent them.

The fact that Kvothe is left alive is a significantly huge loose end for the Chandrian, given how their motivation seems in part driven by their desire to remain secret, leaving an eyewitness alive is very bad for them. It's mostly Cinder's fault Kvothe even lives, because instead of killing Kvothe quickly like Haliax tells him to, Cinder wastes time and toys with Kvothe, and then they lose their chance to kill Kvothe, and all have to run away from someone/the Amyr. Thus it would make sense that it's Cinder's responsibility to fix this problem. We know from book 2 that Cinder runs a bandit camp, so he could just send two of his bandits to find some red-headed boy who got away.

Either they may have been sent to the ruined camp to find some red hair for a dowsing compass, which seems a little silly but not necessarily impossible. But I mean we have no idea how the thugs got something of Kvothe's to use for a dowsing compass in the first place (though come to think of it, we never actually see that they do in fact have a dowsing compass. Kvothe just assumes they have one based on their behavior, but he never finds on to confirm this…), so them having something at all seems like an easily explainable thing. Then the two times they lose his trail could be in Tarbean--maybe they mistakenly follow the old man and his son (the ones with the squashes) 'cause Kvothe rode in their wagon--and again in Anilin. It'd make sense that a dowsing compass would be led to Anilin, as Kvothe's hair could easily end up in some wagon.

Or maybe the bandits are just good at regular, non-sympathetic tracking. Since Cinder knew that Kvothe's parents were the ones singing the song, he probably knew which wagon was theirs, and so could tell the bandits to start there. Then they could have just skillfully followed his trail from there to Tarbean, lose him, then pick his trail back up with Roent's caravan, and head to Anilin. Maybe they even question Roent or his wife or Derrick, and they protect Kvothe by telling the bandits Kvothe stayed with them until Anilin? Maybe the mistake they make in Anilin is they kill the wrong person, like Josn the minstrel. Maybe they hear from someone who joined the caravan while Kvothe was there about a really skilled lute player with red hair (we never get a real physical description of Josn so maybe he has red hair, though Rothfuss seems to be pretty good about dropping important connecting details without us realizing it, so it seems odd that he'd leave that out if it was important, but I dunno). Then they go to Anilin, and find Josn and kill him, and then somehow find out that's not who they're looking for, and track Kvothe to the University. Maybe the "nothing pleasant, but nothing unexpected" that happens to Denna is Josn tries to get a little too friendly with her, and the bandits track her down, and she leads them to Josn out of spite? That's something I just thought of right now, and I don't think that's very likely to be what happened. It'd feel pretty contrived and I doubt Denna is that spiteful, but who knows?

Honestly either could make sense to me. On the one hand, it'd be hard to believe that bandits would be so skilled as to track Kvothe by simply non-magical means, but then again that could be why it takes them several years to find him. On the other hand, it's hard to believe Kvothe could stay in Tarbean for nearly three years and not get found if they were using the dowsing compass, but maybe Cinder didn't start commanding bandits until a few years later, and then send them to find Kvothe. Lots of ifs and maybes, but I do think it was probably the Chandrian responsible for the attack, not Ambrose.
George Brell
161. gbrell

I think you're smart to question whether the thugs were actually sent by Ambrose. The strongest counter-argument, however, is that Kvothe (telling the story) implies that Ambrose hired the thugs through Sleat (WMF, Ch. 25) and Sleat implies that they were hired through the normal means (which suggests that they were not connected to Cinder's gang of bandits). That last fact makes it harder to believe that the same thugs had been searching for him for the years he spent in Tarbean.

I think what drives the speculation (and why I'm not convinced by the implication) is that the Anilin reference doesn't make sense with Ambrose. The only mentions of Anilin prior to that point are in connection with Denna. That suggests that the thugs would have been on his trail prior to his travel from Tarbean to the University (since that's the only place he connects with a group that travels to Anilin). But who would he have angered near the end of his stay in Tarbean that would have cause to pursue him? And the only answer I can think of is Erlus, the Tehlin priest that arrests Skarpi (who has Kvothe's name from Skarpi and who could "theoretically" track down a strand of his hair, though that stretches belief a bit).

Random note from the thug attack. This is the first instance (of four) where a thug calls Kvothe "cully." The other three all occur during the robbery of the inn in WMF. Some cursory internet searching suggests its slang for either a "fool" or a "pal." Anyone run into the word on a regular basis? It feels more English than American to me.
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
162. PangerBan
@ gbrell.
Here in the south pacific 'cully' is slang for friend but you only use it if you're making fun of someone, so it did not seem weird for me.

You are very smart to question this and when Kvothe says somewhere that Ambrose eventually tried to kill him, he could have been referring to the sympathy mommet...
But I think gbrell is right and the only thing really driving this is Anilin. And that does not even weight so much because a piece of Kvothe could have got to Anilin and remember the thugs don't know who they're looking for. They just think he's some thief so him running to Anilin would make sense to them. Only when they got there the trail didn't hold and they had to go back to Imre.
J Town
163. Marco.
I think the Chandrian hiring thugs to kill Kvothe is a stretch. I just can't see why they would think of that as a logical course of action. From their perspective I think it breaks down into four possibilities:

Either it's important to them that he dies or it's not, and either they know about him (skills, abilities, etc) or they don't.

Case A: It's important that he dies and they know about him. In this case I don't think they'd send thugs, because they wouldn't be up to the task. (Can't take a knife to a gun fight and expect to win)
Case B: It's important to them that he dies and they don't know about his skills. If it's important and they think he's just a dopey kid, why waste three years on tracking him? Presumably if they have the hair, they can track him, and show up and stick a knife in him. Heck, they could have done it at any time his was in the forest playing the lute with missing strings.
Case C/D: My objection to these two is the same - if it's not that important to them it doesn't make sense that the hunt would still be on after 3 years.

I could get behind the theory if the thugs were tracking him closer to the death of his parents (maybe the chandrian are too important to be bothered), but three years later?
John Graham
164. JohnPoint
I've always taken the Anilin commment as a reference to a different/prior job, not their current "kill some dude with red hair" assignment.
Here's the quote:
“Like hell. Check it now, while he's close. We've lost him twice already. I'm not having another cockup like in Anilin.” “I hate this thing,” the tall man said as he went through his pockets, presumably looking for a match. “You're an idiot,” the one behind me said. "It's cleaner this way. Simpler. No confusing descriptions. No names. No worrying about disguises. Follow the needle, find our man, and have done with it."
The phrasing certainly implies that the "cockup in Anilin" was related to one of the times that they missed him before, but I feel that it's related to something else. A reference to a different job that they botched before: "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra" if you will...
Carl Banks
165. robocarp

I like the idea of Cinder being the one to set the thugs on Kvothe, though I do share gbrell's concerns.

There are some convenient geographical circumstances supporting Master Ash being the person who hired the thugs, and for those of us in the "Ash = Cinder" camp, that's Cinder. Remember, the thugs attacked Kvothe the day before he left for Trebon. Master Ash is known to have been in Trebon that day, so it would have been a convenient time to sic his thugs on that one red-headed brat they missed that one time. Master Ash is likely based in Anilin. Remember, it's where Denna heads off to at the end of WMF, quite probably to rejoin with her patron after visiting a bunch of old cities. That would explain why the thugs might have had problems in Anilin once. It would explain how the thugs got one of Kvothe's hairs: from Denna, through Master Ash. (Perhaps Denna stole a hair, or Master Ash found a hair clinging to one of her dresses.)

While I'm at it, let me throw out this theory: Denna's ring allows Master Ash to track her movements. When Ambrose pinched it, it gave Denna a measure of freedom (though of course she was still legally bound to him). When Kvothe gave it back, Denna was back under his thumb. That's why she wasn't exactly thrilled to see it. (She probably can't lose it deliberately or he'd know.)
J Town
166. Scottworth
I definitely agree there are significant holes in the theory. Three years tracking the same kid is a stretch. But then again, since the Chandrian can seemingly only find people who say their real names, so they can't just find Kvothe easily, and so they'd get someone else to find him for them so they can remain secret. I dunno. I love the feedback though. Great point about the Tehlin priest. Whether or not it's Cinder who sends the thugs, I at least do not think it's Ambrose. The ring theory is interesting. Could be he uses the ring for dowsing?

I don't think Master Ash is Cinder. I think he's Amyr. I think that the Ash/Cinder connection would be too obvious, though that's hardly any reason why it couldn't be what's true. Kvothe's Naming ability seems to only come into play when he's seen the person he names. Coming up with Ash as a guess doesn't seem like Naming, especially since it's not his first guess. I think it's possible that Denna does have some significant connection to the moon that makes her valuable to the Amyr that will come into play in D3. Though again, while all her names do revolve seemingly around Diana, the Roman moon goddess, they're all names she gives herself. The Name Kvothe uses for her is closer to Denner, because of how intoxicating/addicting he finds her. However, if the name Ash is supposed to be significant, couldn't it easily apply to Tehlu, an Amyr? Tehlu threw himself into the fire to restrain Encanis and burned with him. Hence, becoming ash.

Also pretty sure an Amyr is the Angel Kvothe kills in order to keep his heart's desire. I'm sure that's already been brought up though. But I'm betting he teams up with Master Ash to take on a/the Chandrian in order to get whatever his heart's desire turns out to be, which may be Denna, but then after he gets it, the Amyr try to keep it because it's maybe too valuable to them to let Kvothe keep it, and so Kvothe is forced to kill the Amyr.

Last night I had a probably-ridiculous idea regarding Haliax's motivation, and I'm curious to see what others think. So, when Lanre has his standoff with Selitos, we see that he really wants to be able to die. Living forever while your true love is dead would be pretty awful. We know from Bast that the way people are viewed by other people can change who they are. He gives the example of a girl who is beautiful because she is seen as beautiful, and likewise he fears Kvothe will entirely become this powerless innkeeper everyone sees him as. So what if Haliax thinks that if the whole world can forget about his existence, he can cease to exist? Maybe his first attempt at this was to forcefully destroy everything, but he was stopped, and now that the Amyr exist to oppose him, he can't be so direct. So now he takes the tactic of eliminating any and all proof of the Chandrian and their real names, in the hopes that if everyone thinks he's just a story, and not real, he'll actually become not real? Totally wild, shot in the dark, I know, but I thought it was a neat idea.

In the same vein, I think Kvothe could be taking the same tactic. I think he is trying to actually become Kote entirely, and that everything he does in the frame is 100% part of the act. Throughout his story, he's always emphasizing how great of a performer he is. He never breaks character. So all his little slip ups are totally on purpose, so that Bast (the only remaining person who thinks he still has his old power) may finally accept that the old Kvothe is gone, and then he can finally become safe, harmless Kote. He's not going to suddenly forget he's supposed to be an innkeeper and use his Adem training, only to remember and intentionally get beat up. "Forgetting who he was" is all part of his performance. He doesn't need Bast to believe he never was Kvothe, just that he's actually washed up and can't be Kvothe ever again. Whether or not I'm right about him being able to become Kote only if he can get Bast to believe it, I do think everything he does in the frame is part of his act.
Carl Banks
167. robocarp
dozier@158 and Jezdynamite@159

re: Lyra as person who did not betray a city

Intriguing idea. It'd mean going against what we think happened to Lyra, but since that's vague why not? Lanre confirms to Selitos that Lyra was dead and that her death was on his hands despite being led to it via deceit and trickery. Selitos, with his sight, saw that Lanre went seeking the power to call her back, got it at great price, but failed. Those are the known facts.

I had always thought Lanre was moved to betray the empire in his grief for Lyra, but it's not necessarily so: according to Lanre the deceit and trickery was going on before Lyra died. So let's suppose the Conspiracy predates Lyra's death. Lanre poisons seven others (including Lyra) against the empire. Lyra has a change of heart, and Lanre kills her in rage. He goes seeking the power to resurrect her, fails, falls into despair, then goes ahead with the Betrayal, probably for different reasons than he originally intended.

That fits the known facts, I'd say, so very plausible. And it makes Lanre out to be even worse a person than we thought.

It does have a couple potential problems, though. The main one is logistical: I think it'd be unlikely for Lanre to attack unless he thought he had a traitor in all eight cities. With Lyra dead, he had no one in her city. But then again, it might have been too late at that point. The leaders of Lyra's city might have been forewarned by her death and thus no longer possible to seduce. Another problem is that Lyra seems to be from Belen, but we know Belen was one of the cities that fell, so it must have been betrayed.
Jeremy Raiz
168. Jezdynamite

Most of what you wrote mirrors much of the thinking going on in my head. Thank you for putting it on paper and expressing it alot better than I could.

I am struggling to find a reference to Lyra being from Belen. Can you point me in the right direction please. I found these references in NW Chapter 26 "Lanre Turned":
"The other seven cities, lacking Selitos’ power, found their safety elsewhere. They put their trust in thick walls, in stone and steel. They put their trust in strength of arm, in valor and bravery and blood. And so they put their trust in Lanre."
"As the years passed, Lanre and Lyra fought side by side. They defended Belen from a surprise attack, saving the city from a foe that should have overwhelmed them. They gathered armies and made the cities recognize the need for allegiance. Over the long years they pressed the empire’s enemies back. "
Since all 7 cities put their trust in Lanre, Lanre and Lyra (husband and wife) could have just been defending Belen (as they would any of the 7 cities), rather than Lyra being from Belen. Unless there is another reference to Belen other than this one?
Carl Banks
169. robocarp

The second paragraph you quoted is the reference. It's no proof, but if you take it to be chronological, then you have Lanre and Lyra defending Belen from a surprise attack first, and allying with the other cities later. Before the alliance they would have been defending their home city.

*shrug* It's not remotely a deal-breaker for the Lyra-as-eighth-Chandrian theory, just a minor potential point against.
Sahi Rioth
170. Sahirioth
Re: Scottworth's "It's all an act"
I don't buy it. Mainly because of the single perfect step K takes at the end of WMF. I interpret that as him realizing he has grown slack, and so takes up the Ketan again. Which would indicate that his failure in the fight was just that, a failure brought on by K's lack of form. The act of pretending to be Kote has affected him more than he thought it would. Or perhaps he just gave up on doing the Ketan daily, thinking that as Kote he would not need his Adem ninjas skills.

Re: Denna's ring as a way for Ash to control her
I'm pretty sure the ring is mentioned rather early on, before Denna has gained a patron. Also, what with the knots on the ring, I suspect it is of Yllish origin, which does not fit with any of the major candidates for who Master Ash is. Also, the general vibe I get is that the ring is something akin to a family heirloom or at least an item Denna associates with her earlier life. I'm not sure there's any strong textual evidence for that last part, though. Anyone?
thistle pong
171. thistlepong

Kote acting in order to make himself real, and Kvothe unreal is a great idea. It kind of puts Bast's attempts to get his Reshi back into a more solid context. Kote almost breaks character, but manages to complete the scene.

In contrast to Sahirioth @170, I like the perfect step, taken alone in silence, as support rather than contradiction. If he'd stopped training for even a year, that perfect step should have been impossible. It's even ambiguous when Bast counsels Chronicler, “Well…not the music. Don’t ask about that, or why he doesn’t do magic anymore.” We sort of assume can't after the shambleman incident, but...


That table's fantastic.

possible corrections/edits:

1:1 Alpeh -> Aleph ::winky face::
8 Hespe's YES is a sort of provisional isn't it?
15 the 1st printing of the paperback has bast saying Jax
(depending on how detailed you wanna get)
17 (Creation War was confirmed by WoG, right?)
23 Seems like there should be some special consideration...
(There are three different names)
27 and 28 should be switched
35 & 36 seem like loaded, unverified, word choices
48 Aleph does not urge the Ruach to oppose the Seven
Carl Banks
172. robocarp

Once I figured out that your rows are offset by two from mine, for whatever reason, everything made sense. :)

If someone can dig up a citation for PR confirming the Creation War I'll add it. I'll add a clarification for Jax's expanding house and Lanre turning the tide of war, and I'll fix the line on the Ruach.

The diferent names for Myr Tariniel I'm keeping as-is. In all cases it's clearly a reference the same city and derived from the original city's name. Noting variations in the table is sufficient.

OTOH, the "X was a Chandrian" line I am probably going to break up. Lanre, Alaxel, and Haliax are all different words as far as we know. Even though they probably all refer to the same person, it's not necessarily homologous story points. Lanre being a Chandrian might come from one stock of sources (say, people who knew Lanre and learned what happened to him); Haliax being a Chandrian might come from another (say, survivors of a much later Chandrian attack).

Finally, I'll take suggestions on replacements for " hateful, despairing power lust..." and " tragic vengeance...". I never really liked those wordings myself. The point is to draw a distinction between Skarpi and Denna. For Denna a good one to use might be "sticking to his original purpose". Abenthy might have a third reason.
John Graham
173. JohnPoint
Robocarp -- here's a question from the reread interview and Pat's response re the Creation War:
In a related question, what’s up with the moon being always full before the War of Naming?

I can only refer you to Chapter 102. At this time, all I have to say on the subject is right there. Also, it’s not called the war of naming. It’s called the Creation War.
Which can't really be taken as confirmation that the CW happened, since others in text refer to it as the Creation War...
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
174. PangerBan
I am not sure if everything Kvothe does is the frame is perfectly in character for Kote, because of the way the frame text keeps switching between calling him Kote and Kvothe and the Inkeeper. There is often a very strong line between being Kote and Kvothe. Like that part in the Wise Mans Fear when he gives them all parts to play... That is why I also think Kvothe cannot actually have changed his name to Kote like some people are thinking. If he had done that, he would never be Kvothe at all. I think he is acting a part and sometimes forgets himself. He is out of practice in Ketan and 'magic' and something probably happened to his poor hands, but he has not lost the skills entire. I think.
Sorry for all that rambling anyway with no structure to it.
Roger Pavelle
175. RogerPavelle
@174 What makes you think he is out of practice in the Ketan? He was able to fight properly until he remembered he wasn't supposed to have that skill ::my interpretation:: and he IS able to take the perfect step at the end. This especially is what makes me agree that he is acting a part.

J Town
176. Marco.
i *want* that to be my interpretation too but I just can't get past the "half a moment to look startled" line.

I know he says afterwards that he forgot who he was for a second but I just have a hard time accepting that he decided to fight and then changed his mind during the heat of the battle.

i like to think that rothfuss intentionally wrote the passage to be vague to avoid revealing too much.
J Town
177. Marco.
From WMF, the scene where Kvothe kills the bandits:
I noticed something I'd missed earlier. There were wooden poles the size of tall fenceposts scattered throughout the camp.
"Posts?" I asked Tempi, driving my finger into the ground to illustrate what I mean.
He nodded to show he understood, then shrugged.
I guessed they might be tethers for horses, or drying poles for sodden clothes. I pushed it from my mind in favor of more pressing matters.
This has always bugged me. What are these posts? What are they for? They could be insignificant, but if so why did Rothfuss waste the screen time on them? Is this something that's going to make sense after reading D3?

Any thoughts people have on this are welcome. (I didn't see any back in the reread for this section.) Thanks!
Nisheeth Pandey
178. Nisheeth
@177: Those posts were explained a bit later. Here's the relevant passage:
Men were swarming from the low tents like hornets from a nest. There were atleast a dozen of them now, and I saw four with strung bows. Long sections were leaned agains the posts, making crude walls about four feet high. Withhin seonds, the vunerable wide-open camb became a veritable fortress.
J Town
179. Marco.
Missed that. Thanks
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
180. PangerBan

For the first half of this chapter he is deffinatly Kvothe... when he talks about the sword (who I don't believe is called Folly. I think that is a comment, not a name) and he's Kvothe when the bandits come in. He even says a 'wagon-tipper' of a storm which got to be a Ruh expression...
But then he puts his apron on and smooths down his hair. He stopped being Kvothe and becomes 'the inkeeper'. Not Kote, not once. And then look! As soon as they admit what there here for he says "that seems reasonable" and BANG! Kvothe again. Kvothe fighting, all seems cool until that solider pulls his arm from Kvothe's grip.
And suddenly he's the Inkeeper again. But only to stagger backwards, to gain a little distance, to clear his head.
Then he's back to Kvothe, almost at once, getting scapped. He tried to do the two handed break-lion but it doesn't work. After that's he's the inkeeper, then he hits the man and he's Kvothe again....
Oh god. Try reading this! He flicks back and forward between the two like anything!
Then the way he laughs when the soldier said "who do you think you are?"

And never, not once in the whole chapter is he Kote.

To be honest, I don't know what I think about Kvothe and the Ketan anymore. It is too much for me.
If you have better brains, what do you think?
Roger Pavelle
181. RogerPavelle
I don't have any idea if I have better brains or not. What I think is that all skills take a lot of time and practice to perfect. Doing anything in the Ketan perfectly requires not just knowledge of how, but physical fitness and control.

Not being a musician or a martial arts practitioner, I can't say how similar the skills are. What I do remember is Kvothe saying (talking to Sim before trying for his talent pipes) "It'll take years for it all to come back...But it's easy again. The music doesn't stop in my hands anymore..." (NotW, Chapter 53). Assuming some sort of skills expertise correlation, I don't feel he could make a perfect step without having kept in practice.

thistle pong
182. thistlepong

That's what I was talking about in #171. I trained for ten years and took a year off. That perfect step should have been impossible if he hadn't been training. Pat's essentially dabbled in a handful of arts and has admitted music might as well be magic to him. It's possible that familiarity negatively impacted his presentation here, but I'd like to believe otherwise.
Alice Arneson
183. Wetlandernw
What?? Are you seriously suggesting that Patrick Rothfuss might have gotten something wrong??????


(Yeah, I'm thinking that even something like "you never forget how to ride a bike" doesn't exactly reflect the fact that the first few minutes (after a decade off) are decidedly wobbly. Gotta think that something like the ketan, no matter how familiar, wouldn't really allow a perfect step without continual practice.

On the other hand... we know Kvothe was totally amazing at splitting his alar. Could he have split part of it away to be Kote, but then when he joins that part back with the rest, still have all the skills developed as Kvothe, intact?

(And... I'm not sure that sentence is grammatically acceptable, but you know what I mean. I hope. Also, nested parentheses FTW.))
John Graham
184. JohnPoint
New post on Pat's blog about stories, games (potentially including an eventual KKC computer game), and a new story about Bast.
Jeremy Raiz
185. Jezdynamite
Following on from JohnPoint's post above, I'd encourage anyone who enjoyed or heard of "Planescape: Torment" to also donate to the kickstarter for the new game by most of the same makers.
thistle pong
186. thistlepong
"...or heard of..." love it!

Near the opposite end of the sepctrum on Book 1:
Alice Arneson
187. Wetlandernw
thistlepong @186 - Thanks. Got some brain bleach for me now?
Nisheeth Pandey
188. Nisheeth
A question.
I was re-reading the attack on Cinder's camp in WMF. Now Kvothe mentions that he has no fire and no link. And that he could have been able to do something if he had either. Slightly before that thought though, he mentions two fires in the camp, both sides of the tree. What prevented him from using that as a source?
Nisheeth Pandey
190. Nisheeth
@189, thistlepong:
Seemed like it. Wanted to be sure that there no limitation was mentioned earlier in the series. Thanks.
John Graham
191. JohnPoint
@188 Nisheeth --

That is an interesting question... whenever Kvothe uses fire as a source of energy, he's always taking something from that actual fire (lighting a candle off it, taking a pinch of ash, lighting a wooden shingle from the burning house, etc.) which serves as a link to the fire, through which he can channel the energy. My impression is that you have a much stronger link to a fire if you have something that came from that fire (just as two twigs snapped from the same branch have a much stronger link than two "unrelated" pieces of wood). It's the whole "sympathetic" part of sympathy. For all Dal's discussion that "all fires are one, and the Sympathist's to command" it seems like this isn't entirely the case.

So, when he says that he has 1) no fire and 2) no link, what he's really saying is that he has 1) no link to a fire and 2) no link to the bandits.

But it isn't clear to me why he couldn't bind the bandits' fires to something else (perhaps strike a spark from his flint and steel, or light a candle using the heat from his arm), and then use that to channel energy from the fire. The slippage would be greater, but it would be better than just using his own heat to bring down the bandits.

So, I think thistle's comment @189 has some truth, though I get the impression that it's not entirely a plot cenvenience -- it's at least somewhat grounded in the rules of sympathy.

It also seems like having a poor-boy always at hand would be a really good idea for a wandering sympathist who frequently gets in trouble (even if they break frequently and are messy and dangerous...)

thistle @186: thanks for the link. Somebody doesn't seem to appreciate metaphor...
Steven Halter
192. stevenhalter
@188 Nisheeth -- I would also go with the Kvothe not having any link to that fire theory of why he can't bind with it.

thistle pong
193. thistlepong
Is there any physical contact with the candles during Dal's duels?
Steven Halter
194. stevenhalter
thistlepong@193:There isn't physical contact, but the candles are the opposite. The students:
The object was to light your opponent’s candle without letting him do the same to yours. This involved splitting your mind into two different pieces, one piece tried to hold the Alar that your piece of wicking (or straw, if you were stupid) was the same as the wick of the candle you were trying to light. Then you drew energy from your source to make it happen.
So, the candles were the object, not the source. The energy was drawn from something (body, brazier) with contact.
Nisheeth Pandey
195. Nisheeth
@191, JohnPoint: This would make sense. I never though of absence of a link as referring to a link to the bandits, but rather to the fire itself.
For a link to the fire, he could have used wood as well. After all, it was wood that was burning. Better than anything he had at the moment.
John Graham
196. JohnPoint
I'm not even sure that fire, as a source, has to be in contact with the sympathist, if it's somehow "owned" by the sympathist. So, if I were to light a fire in the hearth, and was in close proximity to that fire, I could potentially draw on it for energy. At least, that's what I take out of Kvothe and Dal's conversation about sharing Dal's fire. I'm not sure how that "possession" works exactly -- and contact certainly makes it easier -- but the act of creating a fire gives you some control over it.

Nisheeth @195: also notice that as soon as Kvothe does gain a link to the bandits (in the form of the Tempi's dead) he is able to successfully use sympathy against the bandits. When he makes the observation that you quote above, he doesn't know that he'll be able to use body.
George Brell
197. gbrell
My interpretation of sympathy sourcing has always been that you need to be close to your source or have a link to the source (e.g., Kvothe takes ash from the fire before searching for the bandits, but Dedan and Hespe put the fire out; he takes water from the hot springs before confronting Vashet). I feel like, loosely, I've always thought of it as crafting free energy. So if you can't feel the heat of the fire, you can't manipulate it without a source (then again, Kvothe grabs the flaming shingle in Trebon to affect all the fires, though perhaps he needed it to perform his slap-dash heat-eater).

I'm not sure how the ownership of sources works. Could Kvothe have stolen the poorboy from Devi or does her prior/continuing usage trump this?

We know that sympathy decays over distance, so I've always just taken the requirement of proximity to your source to be a facet of that fact. In the bandit scene, he's not close enough to use the bandit's fire nor does he have a link.

Nisheeth@195 makes the point that he could have used wood to wood (which should work in the same way that the hot spring water works), but we can either write that off as a mistake on Kvothe's part or I could theorize that the wood he used to make the link would burst into flame, which would've revealed their location.


But presumably they're not in contact with the actual fire of the brazier. One wonders if Elxa Dal would be able to perform much more efficient sympathy when he immerses his hand inside the flame while stating the Name of Fire.
Ashley Fox
198. A Fox
re: Thistle's link to the "Review", I commented. It was too tempting. If the hearts in the right place, will the mind follow?

re. symapthy link to fire/heat.

My impression was that the thermic energy could be utilised when in contact with the sympathist, or when linked to via an intermediary object (wood splinter from campfire in pocket(loosing energy in the process)). In the former becuase it is not the fire itself that is sort, but the energy. The idea of direct contact is not so clear as either touching a solid object or not, as such energy disapetates over ditance. Much as we see in K'd tables of distance decay (I can't remember correct title, sorry!)...

Another example of this would be the galvanic binding.

EDIT: ::amusement:: I see GBrell posted a similar view whilst I was typing.
John Graham
199. JohnPoint
You know, I was reading some literature the other day -- some dead-dude who has a whole bunch of obsessed fanboys. Here's a couple of ridiculous quotes I came across. What do they even mean?

"oh Brave new world that hath such creatures in it": how can a world be 'brave' -- I mean, come on! It's a world!
"Crack of doom": doom is silent and isn't physical, so it can't have cracks.
"Eaten me out of house and home": what does that actually mean? You can'd EAT a house... if someone tried to eat a house, they'd die.
"a horse, a horse. My kingdom for a horse!" : this dude would not really trade his kingdom for a horse. How insane!
"jealousy is the green eyed monster" What! Jealousy is an emotion. Not some monster with green eyes. Is this a riddle? Have I somehow forgotten what all words mean? If you have an answer to how 'jealousy' could be a monster, please let me know!
I tell you, this Shakespeare-guy is overrated!

::wry irony:: sorry, I couldn't resist. (And no, I'm not trying to say that Pat is Shakespeare incarnate, or anything like that. Just making a point.)
Steven Halter
200. stevenhalter
gbrell@197:Yes, it does not appear that actual contact is needed. Some level of proximity based on the intensity of the energy source seems to be key. It would be interesting if Dal could immerse himself in fire and make use of the energy from essentially zero distance.
Carl Banks
201. robocarp
stevenhalter@200 et al

It would explain why students use body heat as a power source. Taking heat from your body is probably the most efficient source of power and too convenient most of the time to not use.

I see sympathy as involving two "links". One link (the Alar) being between the mind and an object, which requires close proximity; the other link (sympathy proper) being between the object and a similar object, which can work over much larger distances.

However, it can't be that simple. It seems that the mind has to be able to have connection with the "remote" object. For example, say you have three iron drabs on a table. Presumably an arcanist should be able to create a sympathetic link between two of them while leaving the third alone. So there has to be some way for the mind to select the "remote" object. I theorize that this can only be done for remote objects that are close. If the remote object you want to sympathetically bind to is far away, the you have to "broadcast" the sympathy: you have no direct control over what it binds to.

So when Kvothe took the ashes from the fire, his intention was to say, "ok, ashes, bind yourself to everything that gives you a decent sympathetic relationship, and give me some heat from that". That thing would be the camp fire, but Kvothe doesn't have explicit control of that: he just knows the ashes would have a strong link to the fire so that's where the heat would come from. When Ambrose tries to commit malfeasance with the mommet, he doesn't need to know who it belongs to: he can broadcast the malfeasance to anything that has a strong link to the mommet.
J Town
202. pianohtoaster
Hey guys, I've been researching deeply into Denna and made a google docs document which I plan to update often. It's already got quite a bit in it: check it out if you're interested.

Oh and it also has other things that I've picked up on while researching on Denna at the end.
Nisheeth Pandey
203. Nisheeth
@202, pianohtoaster:
A number of interesting obesrvations.
In the "Intersting things I picked up during Denna-Finding" section, in the second last point, referring to Nina mentioning the fact that Kvothe didn't tell his name so that people don't have power on him. I believe that it is based on stories, like "Tarbolin knew the name of al things, and so all things were his to command" (NotW, ch.1).

And a little correction, in the point about connections between Adem and Ruh, the word Kvothe says in Ademc is not "Sceopi", but "Sceopa". Based on how Kvothe and Vashet later discuss the similarity between Tempa (Ademic)and temper (Aturan), I linked Sceopa with Speaking.

Not related to the above, I was wondering, has Denna ever failed to catch Kvothe at a lie?
J Town
204. pianohtoaster
@202, Nishteeth
Oh, yeah I read that part again and forgot to change it. I too think it means speaking. And yeah, I guess Nina believed it BECAUSE she's a kid and believes in children's stories (which are actually worldly truths). I've updated it

From what I've seen, Denna certainly can read Kvothe like a book when he's trying to sound smart / heroic. She is also very attentive - she picks up when Kvothe says things in 7, for example.

But she is not omniscient; for example, she didn't know that Kvothe had her ring pawned for a while or that Kvothe knew Denna's patron beat her up (she didn't remember what she said when she was denner-resined).
Nisheeth Pandey
205. Nisheeth
@204, pianohtoaster:
I agree that Denna is not omniscent (regarding him or otherwise). But whenever Kvothe tries to lie to her, however believable, she catches it. I had the thought that Denna can, to an extent see Kvothe's name (though she might not know she can). Whenever he looks into the eyes of a person who can see his name, he losees what ever he was thinking (e.g. feels like he was underwater when Elodin looked at him (WMF, before burning Hemme's room)).
I think she can see the name, but doesn't even know that she is looking at a name and rather believes that it is her undderstanding of Kvothe that allows her to catch the lies.
Another thing in favour of this is the line she says when they are outside Trebon:
"You are lying again," she said cheerfuly. "Your delivery's getting better, but to me you are clear as a shallow stream."
It wouldn't hold if Kvothe has directly lied to her, and she didn't catch it. Hence my question.
J Town
206. pianohtoaster

I like that theory. It is really uncanny - especially when Kvothe is supposed to of the Edema Ruh and therefore really good at acting. And no, Denna hasn't failed to catch Kvothe lying.
Roger Pavelle
207. RogerPavelle
@205 Denna did fail to catch Kvothe telling the truth about working for the Maer, though.
Carl Banks
208. robocarp

Nice collection of facts. I find the sequence from Denna's perspective to be interesting. I think it'd benefit if you filled it in with other known facts in Denna's life for context. I wonder if Denna's own sleeping mind called the wind right before she walked into the taproom in Tarbean for some reason.

Denna did explicitly tell Kvothe her "name" once. It wasn't Denna, though. After Kvothe won his pipes they agreed to tell each other their names, even talking about the fact that knowing names gives someone power over you. Kvothe told Denna his name, and she told him her name was Dianne.

I have no evidence of this at all, but I totally believe that Dianne was her real calling name. Kvothe is getting it wrong.
Nisheeth Pandey
209. Nisheeth
@208, robocarp:
But that would imply that she told her real calling name to Savoy. Why would she do that, if she was giving Kvothe the name as a deal for his name?

@207, RogerPavelle:
I will see if I can find a way to explain that.
thistle pong
210. thistlepong
I kind of think the proximity and/or ownership arguments are a bit like trying for an old Marvel Comics No-prize. It's not entirely clear how or why some energy sources work at particular distances while others don't. Nor is it clear why Kvothe couldn't use Devi's poor-boy, too. That's off the top of my head, though. I'd love to see a taxonomy of sympathetic magic as depicted. But, we might have just broken the illusion. It is magic after all.

Dal wouldn't need to be in a fire or even near one. He can make it. Anywhere. His energy source is limitless.


Good work.


I'd love to show the reviewer some Valente and watch the meltdown. Still, "High among the high rafters..." is a little clunky. And Deoch's "women hate her" speech as well as the creepy nice guy monologue come up in feminist takes on the works fairly frequently.
Steven Halter
211. stevenhalter
Denna's line of:
"You are lying again," she said cheerfuly. "Your delivery's getting better, but to me you are clear as a shallow stream."
is also interesting given the Cthaeh's:
“Surprised? Why should you be? Goodness boy, you’re like a clear pool. I can see ten feet through you, and you’re barely three feet deep.”
In both cases they are using the water comparison to indicate how easy it is to read Kvothe. Now, this is probably just a case of both of them using a useful metaphor. On the other hand, ...
Steven Halter
213. stevenhalter
thistlepong@210:That's an interesting point on Dal. "Does a person skilled in the name of fire have an infinite sympathetic source?" would be a very interesting question to ask of Pat.
thistle pong
214. thistlepong

There are probably environmental constraints and it'd be limited by his ability to maintain control and perform the sympathy. He could probably just extinguish your fire as well. Seems more in character.
John Graham
215. JohnPoint
Steve @213: I remember having a discussion about that awhile back (sometime last year, I think). Gbrell actually did ask that in the admissions interview, but either Pat didn't answer it, or it didn't make the cut. If he chose not to answer it, that could certainly imply a few things about the world a/o D3...

Thistle @210: lol. That would be... interesting... to witness. And good points about those passages -- definitely awkward/tricky. However, the whole rant about meaning of "silence" really amuses me!
Steven Halter
216. stevenhalter
JohnPoint@215:Good recall. GBrell did ask that question and it appears that Pat did not answer it. He answered another of GBrell's, so I am sure he saw it.
Here is the full question(s) from GBrell:
3) Can sympathy and naming be used in conjunction with one another? Invhis Mistborn series, Sanderson hypothesizes a magic system wherein twinborn are able to exponentially increase their power by combining
allomancy and feruchemy (e.g., the antagonist in Alloy of Law). Would it be possible to combine sympathy and naming in a similar manner? As examples: Would the name of "fire" provide essentially limitless energy
for a sympathetic link? Would the name of "iron" allow for the creation and subsequent sympathetic manipulation of magnetic fields? Would the
name of "stone" allow for the creation of infinite mass?
That is interesting that Pat didn't answer it or any of the sub-questions.
Alice Arneson
217. Wetlandernw
The thing that I find funny odd about the rants against certain passages (specifically the "sexist" ones), especially in a book like this, is that there is no real reason to assume that any particular view held by a character is necessarily held by the author. In a well-built world, should there not be characters who think, say or do things with which we disagree? There are certainly plenty of them in real life - even people we otherwise like hold some view or other with which we vehemently disagree. Why is it then "wrong" for a character to express something that is, after all, a fairly common view (both in-world and IRL) - even if all it does is serve to demonstrate that the character doesn't actually understand the opposite viewpoint, or doesn't recognize that there is an alternate?

Obviously, "the feminist take" isn't one of my personal hot buttons, so maybe I'm less sympathetic than I could be. I just don't understand why some can find it so alarming when a character expresses an opinion they find objectionable, unless the entire work is characterized by that particular attitude. (Equally obviously, I don't find that to be the case...)
thistle pong
218. thistlepong

Sure. Let's open that up. Deoch's observation is fairly one sided and a bit sexist. Kvothe is a callow male youth with little respect for women-as-agents in general despite beong all right occasionally on an individual basis. Is that fair? No judgement at the moment. Certainly none toward the author.

As for the notion of it being a common view in world, that's a bit trickier. If it were true it wiuld reconcile that pesky marxist-feminist t-shirt since he'd be simply showing society as it is and allowing the reader to draw hir own conclusions. That rings a bit hollow, though. All we know of the secondary world is what we read. Meta-meta-analysis is torturous even for me.

Is being sexist wrong? Systematic disenfranchisement and limitation, along with the social structures that both obscure and reinforce it, is wrong regardless of whom it affects.

The author, intentionally saved for last to avoid confusing the points above, ends up, at the very least, ambiguous under a feminist lens. Early comments, even though 2012, suggest a certain lack of understanding anf empathy. On the other hand, more recent statements display either a growing understanding or maybe an acceptance of responsibility for that which is presented in his name.

And that's where confusion happens. The KKC, so far, only shows a chauvinist bias. Unfortunately, that's what the author showed for awhile as well. He's been very vague regarding interogations of the presentations of women in the works, though. So maybe there's something redemptive coming.
J Town
219. Bridgebuilder
I am going to see Pat speak this Thursday, and I'm taking a video camera. I can pose the question to him on Steven's behalf, if you like.
thistle pong
220. thistlepong
He'll insist that you shut it off. But please ask.
Steven Halter
221. stevenhalter
Bridgebuilder@219:Yes, do ask if you get the chance. You never know if Pat might be feeling gracious with info. Thanks.
Nisheeth Pandey
222. Nisheeth
@211, stevenhalter:
Bast also uses a similar methapor to when Chronicler says that Felurian wouldn't have let Kvothe leave after meeting the Cthaeh if there wasn't a way to counter its effect. The quote:
"You are looking for depth in a shallow stream,"
The fact that it was used by three different characters made me think that it might be just a methapor.

On the other hand, I do believe that Cthaeh was able to see Kvothe's name enough to say things that would hurt him, and not that he is able to see all futures.
Carl Banks
223. robocarp

I did not scan the novels for every instance of sympathy, but I am fairly certain there was not a single instance where anyone created a sympathetic link between two objects far away from them. (Though the link can persist after the arcanist leaves, as evidenced by the hair used to dowse K.)

So I don't really understand what your objection is. Someone can draw power from a distance only if they have something on hand to form a strong sympathetic bond with the remote power source. That rule has been quite consistent over the novel. It's why he couldn't draw power from the bandit's campfire.
Alice Arneson
224. Wetlandernw
thistlepong @218 - Good answer. I guess it brings me back around to a question I've considered privately for a long time. How much is it... appropriate to make use of RL stereotypes in fantasy?

Deoch is obviously expressing a stereotypical male understanding of stereotypical female behavior. At least, both are real-world stereotypes, whether we like or agree with them or not. As far as that goes, okay.

As a writer, there are a lot of decisions to be made about the world you're building. How much do you make use of RL stereotypes - either as "shortcuts" to help readers get certain mental images, or simply because that's the way you're used to people behaving? If you're writing something completely alien (think "Left Hand of Darkness") to our way of thinking and interacting, obviously any use of stereotyping needs to be very deliberate. In something like KKC (or most fantasy, for that matter) you're crafting a world where the magic and perhaps some of the physics is different than our own, but... how much do you want the people to be just like us?

Obviously, you (as the putative author) can make your characters as similar to - or different from - real world people as you like; the one thing you can't do is make them flat, 2D cutouts. (Not if you want to sell books, anyway, unless it's "Flatland.") I'm personally a fan of the style that make the characters as comprehensible as possible - the style where different characters remind you very much of people you actually know, whether you like them or not.

In that regard, I think PR has done a pretty good job of creating characters with very realistic flaws and limitations, in general. Deoch, for example, comes across as an overall likeable guy, though (like so many men I know) he's a little more confident in his understanding of women than is really justified (from a woman's perspective). On the other hand, his understanding - stereotypical as it is - has a certain basis in commonly-observed female behavior. The stereotype may annoy me, but that's less a matter of it being incorrect and more a matter of finding the behavior on which it is based really annoying.

Don't we all know women around whom "men crowd around like stags in rut"? And don't we all know women who resent that, and get very catty about the woman in the middle of the crowd of men? And don't most of us find both sets of women annoying in some regard? And what about the men doing the crowding? It's a total stereotype - and yet it happens all the time. We may feel a bit scornful toward those men, but that doesn't make them non-existent. Stereotypes, however annoying, really are based on frequently-observable human behavior. Annoying behavior, sometimes, but nonetheless frequent for all that.

I guess it all comes down to this: I don't mind an author making use of stereotypes to some extent, because they really are based on observable human behavior - as long as the characters really do act like real people. I prefer to have some confidence that the author is aware of the stereotyping he's using, rather than actually assuming that the types are universally accurate. Ultimately, for really good story-telling I'll accept a fair amount of stereotype usage - because really good story-telling will take it far enough to make the characters believable, without going so far that everyone's a cliche.

I suppose it comes down to individual levels of sensitivity to any given stereotype, and the message the individual draws from an author's use of it.
Steven Halter
225. stevenhalter
Hey, we're back to the start of the discussion. As Jo said (quite well):
And I think it’s useful and important to avoid the default expectations, say, a young black waitress in an IHOP and an old white innkeeper in a country pub, because when you go with default settings you get things that are bland, and also you get things that perpetuate the stereotypes, and also you get things that are leaning on the default sexist/racist/ablist/homophobic settings that are built into our culture. On the top of our minds we can have a lot of good intentions and a lot of conscious thoughts about what we’re doing, but our sleeping minds were programmed in the past by people with other assumptions, and so when we go for cultural default that’s what tends to fall out. We can be better than that, but it takes a bit of effort and attention. (I am far from always living up to my ideals in this case. Far.) But even without any of that, even for somebody who didn’t care at all and thought that all the bad stuff was just peachy, even then going with the defaults is sloppy and leads to cliches.
So, yes, stereotypes can be useful; the careful subversion of stereotypes can be even more useful. When reading critically, it is perfectally reasonable to ask why a particular passage works or doesn't work. What was the author's intention in phrasing the words just so? Were there any? Or, was the author being lazy? Or, was the author being very crafty?
Gerd K
226. Kah-thurak
I guess the bottomline to that discussion is this: Avoiding stereotypes to some degree is good and interesting - but having a story devoid of any stereotypical behavior is extremly unrealistic and there should be a very solid explanation for it (i.e. totaly alien society/race whatever), because in real life it does happen quite frequently. Which is why it is stereotypical.
John Graham
228. JohnPoint
Ok, is there a difference between having a bunch of stereotypical characters (like Jo's example in the header), and having a character who expresses stereotypical viewpoints (like the Deoch quote)?
Alice Arneson
229. Wetlandernw
John @228 - I think there is a difference. All of us fit someone's stereotype, somewhere along the way, in some aspect of our lives. So having a character who holds what we think of as a certain stereotypical viewpoint in one area isn't the same as a stereotypical character. Obviously that viewpoint has to be consistent with his character in other ways, but that doesn't mean he's a cardboard cutout of Type XYZ, where we know everything about him based on one statement.

That said, some background characters can (IMO) be legitimately "stereotypical characters" in the Type XYZ form, where we know what is to be expected of them... but they'd better not be in more than a scene or two. For example, if you have a quick description of the tavern serving girl who looks harried and has to dodge the pawing hands of the customers, it calls up a stereotype of the girl - but it also calls up an entire expectation of the type of inn, innkeeper, clientele, etc. The quick description of the girl is often almost shorthand for the whole setting, saving us an extra paragraph or two of prose; personally, I think that's an acceptable use of stereotypes. Someone as visible as Deoch, though, needs more depth.
Ashley Fox
230. A Fox
Stereotypical behaviours. Gonna toss out a wee bit of dessent here. Stereotypical behaviours are not necessarily natural behaviours. They are learned, whether insidious or obvious, via a societies norms and values. E.g. 'women like Denna'.

There was not a group of artists looking through a viewing glass, observing this behaviour, who put into their works, thus continuing the cycle and creating a stereotype. It is a stereotype becuase it is often repeated/promotes certain 'ideals' in some cases, and because it is percieved as the norm- and thus natural- in others.

This perception of normality then, of course, becomes reality via action and deed.

In the 'women like Denna' scenario which came first? The promoted competition between women for men who lurch and leer, each person fullfilling their designated role dependant upon their dangly bits and percieved desirability? Or forms of art/lit ect containting these ideas, these roles, suckled down with mother's milk and, later, over a knowing and wordly glass of wine?
Carl Banks
231. robocarp

That (Denna giving Kvothe the same name she gave Savoy) is the most obvious way to interpret it, but it's not definitive. She leaned into Kvothe when she told him her name and spoke into his ear; Sovoy might not have even heard it.

Which brings me to another thought I had. I noticed while searching for instances of Dianne that Count Threpe's calling name is Denn. I am starting to think that the root /den/in Aturan is a lot like Jack in English, given the number of words containing it that seem to have no obvious relationship with each other. So Denna would be like Jackie, denner resin like Jack Daniels, and a dennerling like a Jackalope. Well, you get the idea.
Nisheeth Pandey
232. Nisheeth
@209, robocarp:
She did whisper it to him, but then he said the name back when she asked him to. This time, Savoy did hear, and the only expression on him was "a not-quite-subtle stare".
Gerd K
233. Kah-thurak
@A Fox
And now you will have to explain what the difference between "natural" and "learned" might be. A cat learns to hunt. Natural behavior? A pavian male dominates his group. Natural behavior or learned social norm? My point here is: The distinction is pretty senseless, because in themselvs social norms may or may not be "natural" and our abillity to analyse which behavior is caused by what "source" is very limited. Even the definition of "natural" seems rather unclear to me.
thistle pong
234. thistlepong
You'll wanna note that her opening included the phrase "not necessarily" and the rest of the post explored the tense intersection between a priori condition and acquired habituation. I'll ask you again to exercise some restraint despite your zeal. Even so, two effectively upper middle class dudes day drinking and objectifying the female lead have, literally, nothing to do with the species that neither construct nor conjugate regardless of how interjecting them might obfuscate an uncomfortable question.
Ashley Fox
235. A Fox
Oh honey, come now. The distinction, and discussion is most certainly not senseless. When I go to a bar with friends and go to the loo on my lonesome, getting groped by random men on the way, who seem to think my percieved desirability equates some ownership, is my questioning this senseless? Questioning how much responsibility those individual men have, how much the group/society has? How such behaviour has come to be, and be acceptable at that? No. It is very valid and very much in many people's interests.

The ole nature/nurture question will never be settled. It is a false dichtonomy. Cats dont learn to hunt, they are born with killer instinct, they learn to hunt well. Nobody lives in a bubble, whther observed or is just not possible to seperate the two entirely. However, as diverse cultures demonstrate it does not mean the status quo is immutable, correct or even the most beneficial.

The human race is a snazzy creation. Our sub cortical impulses are monitered and managed by higher brain functions.

ok, I'm now starting to think about zombie ants. Time to cough up some blood and go to market.
Steven Halter
236. stevenhalter
Also, please do note that many stereotypes are very wrong. Many follow the faulty reasoning path of hasty generalization:
A is a member of group X
A did action A
==> All members of group X must do A
thistle pong
237. thistlepong

Pardon the tardy response. My objection, if it exists in earnest, is to the theory leading the evidence beyond a certain point. Maybe.

So, like, after thinking about it, no ownership theory is necessary to explain Devi kicking his Ruh rump. She effectively had two more arms than Kvothe whether he could draw from the poor boy or not. In that light, Kvothe's request to Dal seems more like traveling argot than magical game theory.

The other bit probably stems from my layperson's understanding of energy. They mention, for example, catalytic, galvanic, and kinetic bindings. Why is heat such a big deal? But that's likely just armchair superheroics. Unless it's not. Hence the desire for a taxonomy. Good idea. Insufficient data.
J Town
238. Bridgebuilder
So, last night I went to meet Pat and the Beard of Awesomeness. Got there late thanks to LA traffic. Missed most of the QA session, but was there in time for the reading. Pat had page proofs with him for a follow up of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle, but did not read from it since over half the audience had never heard of the first book. He also had part of Bast's new story, but he didn't read from that either. He said it wasn't good enough for readers yet. So, he read some stuff from his blog since most of the people there hadn't heard of that. *sigh* BUT. When I was in line waiting to have a book signed for a friend, I was thinking about Stevenhalter's question. I was so nervous I wrote it down and kept repeating it to myself while I was waiting so I wouldn't forget it.

When I sat down to have my picture taken with Pat, I turned to him and grinned wildly. I think my hands were shaking. Then I put on the most serious face I could and said, "Does a person skilled in the name of fire have an infinite sympathetic source?"

Pat kind of halted and looked at me for a long minute, and then he said... No. He hesitated again and looked at me, and I had to confess: "I lurk on Jo Walton's re-read at Tor...." He grinned and said, "Wow, those are some serious fans over there! I haven't really read it, just brushed up against it because I don't want to..." and I hurried to say that I understood. Now I'm wondering, if I'd kept quiet or asked another question, would I have gotten a little more? :D After that we took ridiculously funny pictures and talked about writing. I wish I could have stayed longer but I was hungry and the rest of the line was a million miles long.

All in all, Pat is a hilarious guy and I had a great time. Wish I was going to Comic Con this summer. I'd definitely try to hang out with the man. Oh well!
Steven Halter
239. stevenhalter
Bridgeburner@238:Thanks! The "no" is an interesting answer. I'll have to think on wether there are any reasons for that supported in the text. (There are lots of reasons I could wildly speculate about.)
thistle pong
240. thistlepong
Maybe if s/he set the atmosphere on fire... thanks for asking and for sharing your experience
J Town
241. Bridgebuilder
Stevenhalter@239: You're welcome. I kind of wondered if he was pulling my leg when he said No, because he stopped and looked at me a little more seriously after I asked my question and before he answered. I think I might have surprised him. Although, I figured if he didn't want to tell me he would just have said, "You'll have to wait to find out..."
John Graham
242. JohnPoint
Bridgebuilder: Thanks for asking! It's always great to get a direct response from him on something.

Though, on to some speculation about his answer. I'm going to guess that his "no" may be specifically related to the "infinite" part of the question. Someone with the name of fire can create and control fire, but it is still burning... something. So, the energy that the namer/sympathist could draw from knowing "Fire" would be limited by resources (as Thistlepong alludes to @240). I'm still not sure whether that answers the question about whether a namer could always (more or less) have a source of energy. As such, he may not have technically been pulling your leg as you suspect, but answering the question literally: "No, a sympathist with the name of fire does not have an infinite sympathetic source of energy."

Or that would be my guess, from what I know about how he answers questions...

(edit to add a clarification and for pesky typos)
thistle pong
243. thistlepong
While I'd rather see the technical folks come at this, maybe he's sneaking out of it...
“no,” she said, startling me with the weight of rebuke in her voice. “mastery was not given. they had the deep knowing of things. not mastery. to swim is not mastery over the water. to eat an apple is not mastery of the apple.” She gave me a sharp look. “do you understand?”
John Graham
244. JohnPoint
That's certainly possible too -- he's making a distinction between namers and shapers.

Regardless, I don't entirely trust him to be answering the base question, which (imo) is: "if sympathist can name fire, a la Elxa Dal, could s/he use that name to (nearly) always provide hir with an energy source from which to draw heat for sympathy."
Patrick Stultz
245. Audion
Re - Denna giving K the name she gave Savoy. I think the reason she gave K that name was because that's who she was at that time. Denna is obviously doing something with her name, when they "openly" relize who each other are and K says he never forgot her name of Denna she was supprised and said "I'd almost forgotten her, she was a silly girl" or something like that.

Now, I don't know if she's changing her name or her Name when she sheds one, but it's obviously affecting her in some way.
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
246. PangerBan
A sympathist who knows the name of fire not having an infinate sorce of enegy - if he had, I am sure he could make an ever burning lamp. I worry too that the 'no' is focused too much on the infinity.

As to the ever burning lamp. Kvothe starts to say something about sympathy, but Kilvin says NOT ever glowing lamp, ever BURNING. As if sympthy could not make a lamp burn forever.
But if it is just energy money changing, can a person not bind the flame to something ever-moving, like the water in a river? Or if that is too hard, something clockwork that you one have to wind every day to keep the wheel turning... would that not give an ever burning lamp? As the wheel turns, the fire still burns... it would not need wood or oil to keep up its enegry.
This question I would ask if Patrick Rothfuss ever comes for a holiday on a certain small, South Pacific island.
Nisheeth Pandey
247. Nisheeth
@246, PagerBan:
I think the problem with that is, by the motion of the river, you are getting the heat. But fire also needs a fuel, regardless of heat. That fuel can not be provided by Sympathy.
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
248. PangerBan
@ 246 Nisheeth

Does the fire really need fuel, regardless of heat? Why? I was thinking that the use of fuel was so that the fire could convert it into engery and keep itself going. You cannot use sympathy to by-pass the 'fuel' part of things and feed the fire pure enegry?
Carl Banks
249. robocarp

I would say an ever-glowing lamp is pretty straightforward. Kvothe immediately starts to describe how to make one when asked, and Kilvin stops him and says, "not like this" with a gratutious display of Capacitorial Kinetic Luminosity. The important thing implied here is that it's doable to build an ever-glowing lamp (in constrast to an ever-burning one), and therefore it must be doable to find enough of an unending source of energy to power a lamp. Thus the difficulty in creating an ever-burning lamp is chemistry: the problem is to find a chemical reaction that can be undone easily enough to recreate the original fuel.

Kvothe's guess of lithium salts might be a reference to lithium-ion batteries, which currently are the among the best battery technology at not degrading over repeated charge-discharge cycles. (Though the main reason they became popular is higher voltage and relatively low toxicity compared to other batteries.)
Carl Banks
250. robocarp
I'd like to rehash a theory I had about what sympathy is that could explain PR's answer to Bridgebuilder.

My theory, briefly: A sympathist uses his or her Alar to induce an object to call its own name. Because similar objects have similar names, a similar object can respond to the call with some degree of efficiency. The more similar the objects (and therefore names) are, the more efficient the connection.

So, if this is the case, it could explain why sympathy wouldn't work on the fire whose name was called. The fire would be hearing two names: one being its own deep name, the other being the name of another fire. Which one do you think it's going to listen to?
Nisheeth Pandey
251. Nisheeth
@248, PagerBan:
Fire is an chemical reaction. So it needs three things (primarily), an Oxidizing agent (generally Oxygen), heat and fuel. Fuel is what is undergoing the reaction. Without fuel, the energy would, and I am not exactly sure about this, simply glow (and hence become a ever glowing lamp).
Steven Halter
252. stevenhalter
JohnPoint@244:That's a better phrasing of the question and I don't think we would get as direct an answer to that. It probably is the "infinite" in the first question allowing Pat to be coy.
Neav Pif Paf Pouf
253. PangerBan
@ Nisheeth 251

Ohhhhh... I see it! :)
Possible to make it with out fuel, but then it stops being ever BURNing. It doesn't need fuel to stay alight but it needs it to burn.
Thank you.
Ashley Fox
254. A Fox
@Bridgeburner. Thanks for sharing :)
Gerd K
255. Kah-thurak
@235 A Fox
I dont claim that a stereotype is something that is unavoidable for an individual. It is just a choice many individuals make in similar circumstances. So yes, if you change the circumstances you can change the actions. For a fantasy novel that means, if you go very far away from "our" reality you get different stereotypes. I think Rothfuss did not go that far away in (most of) the Four Corners world.

As for the question of the "guilt" of your groping bar patrons: Obviously they are responsible for their own actions, and I doubt that they found them acceptable themselves - they just thought they would get away with it.
J Town
256. DVDA
@143, There was no update for Mar. Will there be one for April or is this enjoyable reread concluded for the most part? Thank you either way.
J Town
257. Nameless
Denna is constantly revisiting Imre, were she had previously burned all bridges: Not paying bills, splitting-up with powerfull guys etc.
Maybe most people do not recognize her after she changed her name and that is how she manages to return. K. is one of the few persons who are an exception.
Roger Pavelle
258. RogerPavelle
@257 Many people recognize her besides K. Wil, Sim and Deoch are three who come to mind very quickly.
J Town
259. ASR
Ever Burning Lamp: I think that it's suggested that an ever burning lamp cannot be made by Kilvin because it's related to shaping and/or grammerie. And Kilvin self admittedly doesn't have the knack for names. I think the Ever Burning Lamp and the Adem "burnished grey" swords come from the same era. The Rothfuss equivalent of WoT's Age of Legends. I'm sure Shapers could change the nature of the fire burning in the lamp to no longer require oxygen or any source.

I still think about these books often and get frustrated when I re-read. For example, when Kvothe saves Denna from an asthma attack in Tarbean, does she know he used Naming to do it? Does anyone? It is glossed over. You would think that someone who is so obsessed with secrets and magic like D would want to know exactly what he did. But it's not mentioned at all.

And how can Elodin not be able to tell if Kvothe is wearing a ring of air? That seems absurd since he's master namer. He can spot a fae cloak from 50 feet but can't notice a magical ring right in front of him?

Also, I had a dream that when Kvothe gets to Renare he is placed in a threatening situation but uses the write that Alvaeron gave him to maneuver himself into a much better situation than the writ itself implies.
J Town
260. Marco.
@259, RE: Elodin and the air ring

I have a vague memory of Kvothe asking Elodin if he knew the name of the wind and Elodin giving an evasive answer. (The implication being that Elodin may not have the name of the wind at his command, or possibly it's elusive for him like it is for Kvothe)

Of course, I'm having trouble finding where that is. Does anybody else remember this?
thistle pong
261. thistlepong
It changes. It's different in every place. He can usually find it.

He probably started looking intently after the quip.

But yah, that's a moment of tension and ambiguity that might bear scrutiny.
John Graham
262. JohnPoint
Marco @261:

It's in WMF ch 50 as Kvothe is leaving the University:
(Eloding speaking) "...and only a handful of people who know the name of the wind."
You know it, Don't you," I asked
Eloding nodded. "It changes from place to place, but I know how to listen for its changing shape."
I agree with Thistle -- after the exchange between Kvothe and Elodin about the ring, I expect that Elodin then was serious about looking. We only see the initial banter between them.
Nisheeth Pandey
263. Nisheeth
I had thought that a simple answer would be that seeing the name of the wind is not the same as seeing the wind itself. He could get an idea of things moving in the wind, notice the constantly changing pattern, but maybe not the fixed ring that Kvothe might have made
Steven Halter
264. stevenhalter
Kvothe never mentions that he has made himself a ring of air until he asks Elodin if he has one. If he had made one, that seems like a large hole he (as Kote) has left in the story he is telling. If there is that large a hole, one would have to ask how much else he has left out.
If he hasn't made one and so hasn't left out the story, then this is really a test he is springing on Elodin.
Nisheeth Pandey
265. Nisheeth
I also believe that Kvothe didn't make a ring (simply because there was no prior mention of that). My explanation was for why Elodin wasn't was able to tell whether he was wearing the ring.
Nisheeth Pandey
265. Nisheeth
I also believe that Kvothe didn't make a ring (simply because there was no prior mention of that). My explanation was for why Elodin wasn't was able to tell whether he was wearing the ring.
thistle pong
266. thistlepong
You just need to account for Elodin's reaction as well. So, it needs to be possible he might not have noticed it regardless of its actual presence or absence. Thus the bit I paraphrased and JohnPoint quoted. Knamean?

I'll go into full apologist mode and note how exquisite the scene is. It's immediately funny. Then it's, if only a little, confusing. Then it's perfectly ambiguous. Is this where the rumor for the ring of air entered the rhyme? It also deepens our understanding of naming by implication.

Might even lend tenuous support to the "ownership" theory. /shrug. I love the good questions. Thanks, ASR.
Nisheeth Pandey
267. Nisheeth
How does it spport the ownership theory?
And I don't think that it could be the source of the ring of air part of the rhyme. The only way I can see that poem becoming famous is Kvohte telling it himself. Elodin doesn't seem to be the type of person to gossip about Naming, more so if he isn't even sure if Kvothe is actually wearing it.
J Town
268. Marco.
I don't believe Kvothe ever makes a ring of air.

I think the rhyme is a convienence of the people telling stories about Kvothe. It's not very poetic to say that Kvothe knew the name of , so the bard/storyteller sets it to rhyme and gives information that will lead the audience to that conclusion. It's the classic "show, don't tell".
George Brell
269. gbrell
Kvothe doesn't possess a ring of air as of the end of WMF. He "lift(s) up (his) naked left hand." That word has no point in the sentence unless it's supposed to reflect the lack of the ring.

I would lean towards him ultimately making the ring for a couple reasons:
a) Even if Elodin didn't see through his bluff, I don't think he would spread the knowledge about; and
b) It would argue that he never made any of the rings he's credited with (though he already has 2-3 - wood, bone, and possibly iron - and we've seen a fourth - Fela's ring of stone), since if they're Namer's rings he's most likely to get air first.
Patrick Stultz
270. Audion
I guess I'm the only one who thinks he probably does have a ring there. I look at it in the contex of ending on a high note for the story Kote is telling. He breezes through a couple months of care free school, and talks about how the 3rd time pays for all breathing the breath back into D. It's not a huge leap to think he can make a ring now.

I think the first bit of the next book is going to be him coming into his full naming powers, then being booted out of school, probably for the misuse of them. OR he'll get a note from the Maer saying he has a lead for K to check out on the Amyr. You get the feeling from the Frame that K had some serious naming powers, I just think this was the first step in showing the world them.
J Town
271. Marco.

Don't forget that in the rhyme the rings are broken up into two sets: the rings "he wore" and the rings "unseen".

he wore: stone, iron, amber, wood, bone
unseen: blood, air, ice, flame, without name*

Of course, air is special because it could actually be there and not be seen, but this doesn't apply to the other ones on the unseen list. I still think those are just a list of things he has mastered and not actual rings. (Looking forward to finding out!)

*Have people speculated what the ring without name is? My WAG - copper.
Wallace Forman
272. WallaceForman

I have seen speculation that the ring without name is "silence." Certainly plausible, given the frame and the Ademic fascination with the stuff, but hard to say for sure.

I think that the speculation about copper not having a name is misplaced. Most of it stems from interpretation of the strange room in Haven. People seem to believe that copper has some anti-naming property, but the evidence for this is pretty thin.

I think the better interpretation of that scene is that the strange room has no wind in it. The room is well insulated, and Kvothe, having spent most of his room outdoors in a preindustrial society, is not used to spaces without some sort of draft.

Elodin says he could still see the name of the wind through the window (outside, where there is a breeze), so the copper in the room is clearly not eliminating his naming ability completely. Nor does the presumably copper webbing in the walls prevent Elodin from manipulating the stone walls. In fact, Elodin appears to call both the name of stone and copper, once he understands what he is trying to manipulate. The stone walls are disintegrated and the copper webbing in the walls is green and flaky - indicating that it has been rusted away.

If copper can be named, why put it in the walls? Two names are harder to name than one, but it is only a "half-clever" safeguard, as Elodin points out. It will not stop a skilled namer.

Why does Taborlin carry a copper sword (if in fact he did)? Perhaps because he does know the name of copper. It is useful to have on hand the things you can manipulate. Compare how Chronicler carries a pure iron medallion. On the other hand, copper is a conductor. Perhaps Taborlin simply uses his sword to call down lightning, as is his wont.

Last, Pat's note after receiving a copper dagger is polite, but it does not tip his hand.
Nisheeth Pandey
273. Nisheeth
That raises a question, can a concept have a name?
I don't think that your interpretation of teh air in Elodin's cell is correct. It doesn't explain why Elodin didn't expect Kvothe to notice it, if it is simply air.
I think that copper does have a name, but is resistant to naming. Not immune, but resistant.
If the stories are to be believed, Tarbolin knew the name of all things. So no limitation there. Chronicler, I believe, carries the medallion because it is a religious symbol, not because it is Iron. He reaches for Iron first when Bast attacks would be because of Faen creatures feel pain when in contact of Iron.
Wallace Forman
274. WallaceForman

"It doesn't explain why Elodin didn't expect Kvothe to notice it, if it is simply air."

Not air, wind. Elodin is suprised because he realizes that Kvothe's sleeping mind notices the absence of the name of the wind, not just because Kvothe feels the lack of a breeze with his waking mind. This is the same explanation whether copper blocks the name of the wind, or whether the wind is simply absent.

(“Even the name of the wind was hidden from him by the clever machinations of his captors.” ... “Two years,” he said, looking out over the gardens. “Able to see this balcony but not stand on it. Able to see the wind, but not hear it, not feel it on my face.”)

"If the stories are to be believed, Tarbolin knew the name of all things. So no limitation there."

If the Kingkiller Chronicle has a driving theme, it is that stories should not be taken too literally. Maybe Taborlin knew the names of all things, but probably this is just the folklore shine on his stories.

"Chronicler, I believe, carries the medallion because it is a religious symbol, not because it is Iron."

I don't see support for this. Chronicler does not appear to be superstitious, and he claims not to believe in demons (because he is an "educated man" according to Bast and Kvothe), so he is probably not wearing it for good luck. I don't see any indication that he is particularly religious. His attack on Bast is active and intentional, and either an act of sympathy or naming, and it uses the iron amulet. We know that he knows the name of iron, so it seems reasonable assume that he would intentionally keep some on hand in case he needed to manipulate it. He claims that iron is his only name, so he cannot rely on his general naming ability unless iron is present.
Nisheeth Pandey
275. Nisheeth
When speaking of the Name of the wind, I don't think that wind is simply moving air. Kvothe stops te wind in Ademere, but it is yet the Name of the wind. It might be that the air inside the cell was somehow changed, by naming or some other means (which can't be copper, becase of the first quote you posted), and hence its Name was distince from the one outside, and that Kvothe noticed it, as you say, because of his sleeping mind.

I agree about the fact that one musn't rely on stories in the series. But I tihnk that we can agree that he was a skilled namer, knowing a large number of names (there has to be a basis for the story afterall), so I do think he might have known the Names of many other things that would work better for weapons than a Copper sword. But we don't know much about him, so arguing about it is pointless. Lets leave it at that.

Being religious and superstitious are two distinct things. I have a friend who believes in god, hence religious, but not superstitious, since he sees things scientifically. I think that chronicler is also similar. He is educated. He knows there are no demons. But still he believes in God.
I seem to remember a image of his locked being posted by Pat on his blog, that mentioned it as beng a Thelin wheel.
For that matter, I don't think that we have actually seen anyone use a Name of a thing as a weapon. Not counting the one instance Kvothe uses Felurian's Name against her, or Lanre's story by Skarpi (since stories aren't that reliable, and that seems the part he would most likely change to make a good story).
How could he have used the name of Iron (using his wheel)? It worked against Bast because he is Faen. What about humans?
Wallace Forman
276. WallaceForman

What I meant by "Not air, wind." is that Kvothe is not feeling something different about the air. He is feeling the lack of the wind, as a reified entity distinct from the air itself. Or, he is "not feeling" the wind, rather than "feeling" the air. I would disagree about Ademre - Kvothe does indeed find the wind's name there, whether or not he calls it or simply conforms to it. (ETA: I misread what you wrote about Ademre. I guess I would say there is a difference between the wind being still, and the wind being absent.)

Whatever the overlap between religion and superstition, I am not conflating the two. I am saying that there is good evidence that Chronicler is not superstitious, and no particularly strong evidence that Chronicler is religious, unless we assume that he carries the medallion for religious purposes, which would beg the question. Tehlinism appears tied up with demons, which Chronicler doesn't believe in. Even if the wheel is a Tehlin wheel, it might simple be an inconspicuous way for Chronicler to keep iron close.

We still don't have a clear picture of what naming can do, so I have no idea what Chronicler could do with iron. It needn't necessarily be useful as a weapon. However, Chronicler does grab the iron when he stumbles on Kvothe in the woods, as if preparing to use it. Besides Chronicler-Bast, Kvothe-Felurian, Selitos-Lanre and Jax-Ludis, we have seen at least one use of naming as a "weapon" of sorts, when Kvothe first calls the name of the wind and strikes down Ambrose.
Jenny Creed
277. JennyCreed
On this no particular occasion I'd like to present, for the department of imaginary psychology, a case study of the quasi-humanoid entity Haliax.

The patient's condition is as remarkable as it is well known: A curse prevents him from ever knowing sleep, forgetfulness, death or insanity; in short any of the most basic coping mechanisms the human mind uses to deal with trauma, including the stresses of day to day life.

The first three should have a fairly obvious and predictable result, over the course of centuries: A person who could not die would go crazy. Not being able to forget anything would make you go crazy. Not being able to sleep would make you go crazy in a matter of days. But that leaves the fourth, crucial component. What happens to a person who can't ever go crazy, even a little bit?

To answer this we must be clear about what insanity is. It is, at its heart, the rational response of a mind that's forced to confront an irrational reality.

For the patient to be capable of the feat of avoiding this condition, he needs a superhuman mind; one that can resolve every incongruity and conflict and make sense of every part of the world it observes. There can be no mysteries to the patient, no contradiction in human behavior, no problem that he doesn't intuitively solve upon comprehending it.

For example, let' s take the patient's historically most well known personal tragedy, the death of his lover Lyra. For the human mind, coping with such grief is a slow and painful process involving several stages of learning wherein the patient internalizes the facts of the person's death and how it changes many facets of the lives of those left behind, and how this change is permanent.

It's not uncommon for humans to experience violent and lasting side effects in this process. The patient, for instance, before he was cursed, had time to sink into a deep misanthropic depression. But the moment the curse was laid upon him, it would have become impossible for him to continue to experience grief; impossible for his mind to be overwhelmed and subject to those coping mechanisms now unavailable to it.

His mind would be forced to instantly develop the tools to give Lyra's death meaning, his pain resolution and end his disorientation.

And from that point, nothing could hurt the patient again. His mind, left with no means to hide or protect itself or ignore any unpleasantness, would be forced to grow enough to cope with any difficulty presented to it. He would need to learn to think bigger every day than the day before, to contain the dreams he can't dream when sleeping, and the accumulated memories of his unending life.

In time, perhaps less than a year, the patient would be something we could not possibly recognize as human. His priorities, his reasons for acting, would be as unfathomable to us as all of human society is to an ant. And we might mean less to him than the ant does to us.

If I were a medical professional, I might hesitate to label a patient with value laden terms. But holy shit does this psycho have "villain" written all over him.
Nisheeth Pandey
279. Nisheeth
My question would be then, why wouldn't Elodin expect Kvothe to notice it? Why would he be surprised that Kvothe was able to?

"For the patient to be capable of the feat of avoiding this condition, he needs a superhuman mind; one that can resolve every incongruity and conflict and make sense of every part of the world it observes. There can be no mysteries to the patient, no contradiction in human behavior, no problem that he doesn't intuitively solve upon comprehending it."
Implying that the person would be able to see the name of everything?
Wallace Forman
280. WallaceForman

Probably because most people's "sleeping minds" are not as astute as Kvothe's, or not as "awakened", or not as attuned with their conscious minds, such that they would notice that the wind was absent.

As I say above, this explanation fits both theories of the room, but the other details lead me to believe that the wind itself is not in the room (Elodin's statements about the wind, his apparent ability to use names in the room and manipulate copper). I'm not positive, but there just doesn't seem to be strong evidence for copper's potential anti-naming properties to me.
Nisheeth Pandey
281. Nisheeth
My point was, does it need to have a astute sleeping mind to notice absence of wind in the room. Still, your theory does make sense.
Jenny Creed
282. JennyCreed
I wasn't thinking about that, Nisheeth. But yeah he'd have to know more names than Taborlin. Maybe he could solve the Nominal Unification Theory and give us the name of the world. . .if he cared.
Steven Halter
283. stevenhalter
JennyCreed@282:Maybe that is what drove Elodin N.U.T.s. :-)
Steven Halter
284. stevenhalter
Putting the last few threads together, I had a couple of thoughts. Sanity (or the lack thereof) is a somewhat subjective term and what constitutes sane vs. insane changes with time and with the observer. So, when Haliax was cursed, by Selitos, the particular meaning of Sane would have been attached to the time and person invoking the curse (unless the curse changes over time).
We note that the Rookery is fairly active with patients deemed to be insane by the university and that Elodin was a resident there for a good while. Perhaps the madness that comes from the study of magical techniques was just as common in Selitos' day as in the present. Given that, Selitos meaning of Sane could have been attached to the particular insanity that afflicts practicioners of Naming. So, Selitos was saying that Lanre could never become that particular variety of insane. He could never just break under the knowledge of his naming and would have to keep dealing with events as he made them. If you see the true names of things, then you really can't hide from their import. Especially as it reflects back upon the truth behind your own name and actions therein.

On another tangent of (in)sanity, the thought occured to me that, perhaps, Kote is the insane version of Kvothe. In the minor form, kote is wandering about with his mind broken. In the major form, the whole frame story could be the crazed internal imaginings of a Kvothe who in reality is sitting in a room in the Rookery. The various visitors in the bar could be either complete figments or therapists wrapped in the delusion. For example, Bast could be Elodin trying to get Kvothe to break out of the delusion and Chronicler a therapist of some sort. This would be a fun theory to play with as pretty much everything could be made to fit within its boundaries. For example, the reason there are very few women in the frame story is that the personnel of the Rookery are largely male (see, it even ties up with the topic of the current post).
thistle pong
285. thistlepong

And you could probably get extra mileage integrating the Keyser Soze theory.

Anyway, wasn't Haliax already in that state when he came to Selitos?
Nisheeth Pandey
286. Nisheeth
Which theory is the Keyser Soze theory?
thistle pong
287. thistlepong
Other than being a major spoiler for another (pretty old) text, it involves taking elements from the frame story to construct the narrative. So you have a pair of travelers, one dark and one sandy haired. Those are your best friends. Incidentally, the sandy haired one who thought he recognized you said he cried at a performance in Imre. That's totally going in there. And so on.

Everything that works forwards also works backwards. Narrative subverts the srrow of time. As above, so below.
Steven Halter
288. stevenhalter
thistlepong@285:Yes, you could work that also, but this is more the Brazil method of things (hopefully without torturers).

Nisheeth@286:Keyser Soze was a character in the movie "The Usual Suspects". I'll leave it to you to look up if you want as talking about it would be a spoiler for the movie. It is a related method of doing a frame story.
Steven Halter
289. stevenhalter
thistlepong@287:And, as without, as within.
Sahi Rioth
290. Sahirioth
@Stevenhalter, 284
" the whole frame story could be the crazed internal imaginings of a Kvothe who in reality is sitting in a room in the Rookery."

I smell Shutter Island! But I doubt PR would pull that one on his readers. Too tacky, too mean, too 'it was all a dream'
Steven Halter
291. stevenhalter
Sahirioth@290:I don't think that PR will go in that direction, either. The amusing thing is that even if he doesn't, it can be read that way--the "power" of infinite deconstruction. ;-)
thistle pong
292. thistlepong
Maybe it's not the wind at all. Maybe the Latantha is just epileptic.

Your psychological theory is not per se deconstruction, though thus statement might be.
Steven Halter
293. stevenhalter
thistlepong@292:Right, I was referring to a process in which we could insist that the true reading of the books was as a purely psychological text even if PR didn't seem to head in that direction (or even consciously intend to--who knows what PR's sleeping mind is doing?).
thistle pong
294. thistlepong
Actually this is kinda fun. If we make it more explicitly Freudian we can tie some of the wackier theories directly to your base assumption. The obsession with Cinder's sword, the things he did to Laurian, potentially even the Ferule-ian fruit. Skip to Jung when you need to explain a metaphysical archetype. Snag some Lacan if you really need to stretch a sign...

And if you wanna work the torture thing from 288, this Kote guyis pretty scarred up. One's not even healed.
Steven Halter
295. stevenhalter
thistlepong@294:That's it, now you're in the flow. Yes, Kote's injuries could be the result of Master Hemme applying the rack and tongs. Or, you know, a manifistation of his deeper guilt over having actually murdered his parents himself. Or, even better, metaphorically murdering his parents by growing up and leaving them to attend the university. Of course, that takes some of the adventure out. ;-)
thistle pong
296. thistlepong
stevenhalter@295: The animosity toward Hemme is just Haven Syndrome. The only friend he's made inside is this Elodin guy who actually shares almost exactly the same delusion. During a sober moment Jasom Hemme sponsored his release and following a relapse Elodin turned on him. Hemme had been making progress with Kvothe until he and the older man began associating and Kvothe began aping his mentor. Herma was recently assigned to Kote's case...
Sahi Rioth
297. Sahirioth
@Stevenhalter, 295
Or, even better, metaphorically murdering his parents by growing up and leaving them to attend the university
Or, metaphorically murdering them by not "being there to save them" when they got murdered. Survivor's guilt, much? And if we return to the blog topic, the lack of women could be because Kvothe, in reaction to his trauma, never really grew up and is therefore so focused on what it means to be a boy or a man, or the difference between the two, that he never pauses enough to fully consider that which is not male. Straws were made for grasping, right?
thistle pong
298. thistlepong

Other than being a simplified summary, how is that grasping? Seems perfectly legit. Underscored through, referenced within, and supported by the text.

Except, of course, it can't explain the dearth of women in the third person frame.
Nisheeth Pandey
299. Nisheeth
@287 & 288, thistlepong and stevenhalter:
Ah! Thanks. Read the whole plot for the movie. Seems to be an interesting theory, though I don't think that Rothfuss will go that way.
J Town
300. Croftgal
Hi everyone,

I have a theory that's been developing a while and was wondering if anyone had noticed the same thing. I apologise if I'm posting in the wrong place or if this has been discussed before.

While reading AWMF, I noticed that Denna uses capital signs odd places in some of her letters:
'I have gone abroad looking for greener pasture and better Opportunity.'
Previously, she asked Kvothe, Will and Sim about a magic that:
'"A magic where you sort of wrote things down, and whatever you wrote became true?"'

'"Then if someone saw the writing.....They'd think a certain thing, or act a certain way depending on what the writing said."'
Now, another place in AWMF where capitals are used in odd places is in the the book Kvothe finds in the Archives with a section on the Chandrian.
'There are signs which herald their Arrival,'

'Altogether, I have found them a Frustrating and Profitless area of Inquirey.'
So, I can't think of an example where Denna's odd capitals seem to affect things much, but the section in the book made me think. What if the writing-magic was used in the creation of this passage, and the words with capital letters affected the behaviour and thoughts of those reading?

For example, Kvothe's thoughts immediately echo those of the book:
'Frustrating and profitless had a familiar ring to it.'
These capitals really bug me, and I feel like they are there for a reason. But there are so many ways to blow holes in this theory. For example, it's no surprise Kvothe was frustrated at that point. And, in that section about the Chandrian, trivial words are capitalised, eg. 'Farmer'. In addition, Denna's capitalizations seem mostly random too.

Any thoughts?
thistle pong
301. thistlepong

I'm not certain anyone believes that's what Pat's doing.


First and foremost, like stevenhalter's recent proposal, it can be be a lot of fun to play with it. Second, as an alternative method of examining the text, it can reaveal things that shine more brighlty under different light. I'd cite Sahririoth's post above as a good example. I'd also credit some of my own thoughts to trying on different perspectives. Roderic as the King, killed, wasn't a new idea, but I didn't know what to look for to support it the way I eventually did. Third, absurdly, it kind of works whether that's what's going on with the story or not. That might be intentional: a metafictional layering of the story or literary wankery depending on your opinion.
J Town
302. camelCase
So, long time lurker, first time poster.

RE: The Ever Burning Lamp

I'm re-reading WMF, and I just passed the section in which Kvothe mentions that his memory is oddly patchy in the Fae. He remembers seeing Felurian by lamplight and candlelight, but cannot remember any of the "fuss" that accompanies such things (sorry, I don't have the book with me, so I can't call up the exact quote). He doesn't remember trimming wicks, or wiping clean any lamp hoods.

Then, I read, from ASR @259, "I think that it's suggested that an ever burning lamp cannot be made by Kilvin because it's related to shaping and/or grammerie."

This connection between the Ever Burning Lamp and grammerie made me wonder if there are any ever burning lamps in Felurian's forest pavilion? Would an ever burning lamp need to have its wick trimmed, hoods cleaned, refiilled with oil, or anything else for that matter?

Even as I type up this comment, however, I think that perhaps I'm reading too much into it. In nearly the same breath he mentions that he doesn't recall how bread or venison appeared in time to be eaten. Perhaps not remembering trimming wicks, etc. would just be forgotten like how all his food appeared.

Anyway, I think it'd be neat if his time in the Fae tied in somehow with the Ever Burning Lamp of Legend, long sought by Kilvin.
Sahi Rioth
303. Sahirioth
Bit off topic here, but on another topic:
Earlier, it was suggested that the name for The Eolian was chosen simply because it relates to wind, which is fitting (duh!) given the title of the first novel of the series. Wind and references to it pops up everywhere, as we've established. But I stumbled over this today:
The wind harp (named after Aeolus, Greek god of the winds) has a sounding board equipped with a set of strings that vibrate in response to air currents. German and English Romantic writers often presented it as a symbol of the mind.
The quote above is from a footnote to be found in The Norton Anthology of Poetry (p. 805), relating to a poem by S.T. Coleridge (yes, the ancient mariner guy) titled "The Aeolian Harp". So there we have the music connection, the harp logo (as seen on the T-shirts), and a source springing from mythology/literature/English poetry. Has this been brought up before?

(Edit: So... Many... Esplling errirs...)
Brandon Lammers
304. wickedkinetic
NEWS!! - Per an interview he posted a link to the video of on his blog - he has written most of the Laniel-Young-Again story and will likely release at some point as a stand-alone 4C novel... and he anticipates D3 being available at some point before 2015.....

I found this very exciting...

He's still not sharing the details of the 'short-story' he's going to write (or has written) that the Young-Again story turned out to long to be....
thistle pong
305. thistlepong
It's long... like 2 hours. I'm halfway done and haven't even gotten to most of what wickedkinetic posted. I'm worried a bit about his phrasing, "it probably won't be 2015, but it won't be this year either." 2014? 2016? He also archly notes that if s movie or a tv show were in the works he'd probably be contractually obligated not to talk about it.

Pat handles the interviewer really well and I'm looking forward to finishing it... later.
Steven Halter
306. stevenhalter
The part of the interview I found most interesting was where Pat talked about his writing process. He has had the basic entire story written for some time and has revised it about 400 (his estimate) times.
During this he adds characters and stories as the writing demands. Anyone who thinks that a character X may not be important because Pat said that character wasn't in the original story should listen to that part of the interview to assuage this belief.
From what I have seen and heard (and Pat himself admitted), doing this many revisions over that long a period is a pretty unusual way to write. For one thing, most authors (who don't have a second job) would starve with that long of a production cycle.
Often, though, I have heard authors say that there is a point of clearly diminishing returns. The story has been polished--more polishing will likely just degrade the work or result in running in circles. But, clearly Pat's process works for Pat and that is what matters for any individual author.
thistle pong
307. thistlepong
Anyone who thinks that a character X may not be important because Pat said that character wasn't in the original story should listen to that part of the interview to assuage this belief.
I agree. He's said similar things in the past but that bit was open and connected to the process of writing the story.

The only authors I can recall talking about revision approaching that scale are William Gibson and (maybe) Rowling. Gibson talked about rewriting the first chapter of Neuromancer hundreds of times. And Rowling spent seven years planning out the Potter series before writing the first book.

I haven't gotten around to exploring more than a few chapters looking for more parallells like those I described in 2/151, but that's the kind of thing that can reult from a process like Pat's. Something that's difficult to pull off with a process like Sanderson's or Butcher's. You can have wonderfully entertaining stories, but once the reader's done, panting for breath, there isn't a lingering complexity.
John Graham
308. JohnPoint
"it probably won't be 2015, but it won't be this year either."
I definitely take that as his indication that 2014 is the magic date. Unless, of course, something happens in the mean time. He's strongly indicating that it will be next year, but isn't willing to come out and say that date, since we (the collective "we" of the Rothfuss-fandom) will try to hold him to it.

Particularly combined with the indication of the book going out for beta review a couple of months ago, I think that 2014 is safe bet unless the reviewers point out something major that he has to completely rework.

Speaking of which: Jo has been notoriously absent from the reread for quite some time. Obviously she's busy with her own writing and other work, but I have a sneaking suspicion that she -- might -- be in the middle of a D3 beta-read...
Steven Halter
309. stevenhalter
JohnPoint@308:That is always possible, but Jo has definitely been doing a lot of writing recently.

(She often posts her writing progress on her blog.)
J Town
310. ANLAD
I don't know if this has been posited yet, but in the rhyme about the Lackless doors,

Seven things stand before the entrance to the Lackless door: One of them a ring unworn, One a word that is forsworn, One a time that must be right, One a candle without light, One a son who brings the blood, One a door that holds the flood, One a thing tight-held in keeping. Then comes that which comes with sleeping

A few things stand out to me. The first is that it looks like a male lackless heir must be the one to enter or he must be present (sone who brings the blood). This is maybe Kvothe if we assume he is a Lackless. Things get interesting when we consider that Meluan doesn't seem to know Kvothe is her sister's son. But, if we look at the riddle, the Lackless doors must be opened with a ring unworn. What's a ring unworn? Well, the wooden ring Meluan sent Kvothe might be just the thing. I suggest this because I don't think Meluan's any kind of daft. A Ruh kid shows up with many talents who may or may not look like him mom. I mean, come on! So, anyway, the next piece is the candle without light. Auri has given Kvothe one such candle! Also maybe it could be a sympathy lamp.

So if these things are true, we can assume Meluan is trying to aid Kvothe, not shun him. The ring tradition is old, and the Lacklesses could know a different meaning to the wooden ring. So what is Meluan up to? Why would she want to open the doors?

I don't know anything that fits with the door that holds the flood, a forsworn word, the right timing, or the tight-held thing. The thing that comes with sleeping could be dreams or rest or anything. If anyone has any ideas, let me know!
Carl Banks
311. robocarp

I'm not sure how I feel about connecting Meluan's reaction to the Lackless poem, but by itself the idea that Meluan is playing a beautiful game with Kvothe is quite interesting. Her reaction to Kvothe's ancestry was ridiculously overboard, not only to us the readers, but also to characters in the story. What if it was just a way to get him out of the Maer's court and back to where he could be useful.

Your post of the Lackless poem gave me a couple ideas, though. Whenever I reread the Lackless poem, I try to connect it to points quickly while it's still new in my mind, before my brain has a chance to bias me with preconceived beliefs. When I reread it in your post I came up with two good ideas.

"A word that is forsworn" - Could Kvothe have given up the Name of the Wind to get into the Lockless box? Or, if the poem is more figurative, could he have given up all naming? Is that why he can't do magic any more?

"A thing tight-held in keeping" - This reminds me of Teccam's writing about secrets of the heart. Secrets of the heart are secrets that don't want to get out. What is Kvothe's secret? How his life was destroyed and parents killed by the Chandrian. What might this secret have to do with opening the Lockless box?

Adam Price
312. Zuphlas
Personally I lean towards the word that is forsworn being something like a promise that the Lackless family made to guard the door for all time and not to open it - a promise that he'd be breaking without knowing about it.

And I definitely think that the 'door that holds the flood', the door that 'stands before' the other door, is related to the fact that Kvothe dreams of the seven-plate door after seeing it - other people dream of what's behind it whereas he just dreams he's standing before it, and I'm of the opinion that opening it in dream is one of the stages. I realise that it could also be the 'that which comes with sleeping' stage separately, but I feel like that can be explained as the poem describing the same action (standing before the door in your dreams with the correct items), rather than a sequence.
J Town
313. Dessert
"One a word that is forsworn"
This line is probably to do with Kvothe swearing upon his name and his power and his good left hand to Denna. A promise broken. His name forsworn.

"One of them a ring unworn"
This could be just as easily applied to a bone ring. Which signifies debt.

-As an aside. Debt makes me think of Devi. Devi wants to get into the Archives where the four-plate door is.

"One a son who brings the blood"
Interestingly, Kvothe is "bloodless."
Steven Halter
314. stevenhalter
I've mentioned the Milkweed books by Ian Tregillis a couple of times here as containing an excellent example of an oracle. Here is an excerpt from the beginning of Necessary Evil that illustrates what I am talking about (in a non-spoiler fashion) with the effects a true oracle can cause and by extension the kind of things that I think the Cthaeh may be doing:
She learns to focus her will like a scalpel, learns to prune the decision tree, learns to slice away the gossamer tangle of unwanted possibilities.
The further she pushes the horizon, the more powerful she becomes. Yet there are still things she cannot do, events she cannot bring to fruition. She cannot make it snow in June. She cannot make brother fall in love in the next two days. Nothing she does will cause the doctor to tumble down the farmhouse stairs and break his neck in the next six hours. But push the horizon back, and possibilities open up. Why hurry? In three days’ time the skies will open with a torrential downpour. The doctor will wear galoshes. He will leave them outside his door on the third floor of the farmhouse lest he track mud inside. He oversees the daily training exercises from his parlor window. She distracts one of the others with a well-timed wink; he loses his concentration and destroys delicate equipment in an explosion of Willenskräfte. The doctor flies into a rage. Throws the door open. Does not see the galoshes. Lands at the bottom of the stairs with splinters of vertebrae poking through his lifeless neck.
She can kill the doctor with a single wink. One pebble starts a landslide; a single snowflake begets an avalanche.
But she is comfortable here. The doctor’s death would change the farm, compromise her comforts. The doctor lives a bit longer: she has decided his fate.
She has cast off the winter cocoon of her childhood to stretch her wings in the sun.
She is a butterfly, leaving hurricanes in her wake.
J Town
315. pianohtoaster
Sorry to break your discussion but I just found something really interesting from reddit (r/kingkillerchronicle/). Here's retelling of that post and my personal take on the theory:

If you google the word Sceop, you will find out that it means a shaper, a singer, a bard. The shaper language cannot be coincidence.

Now, the Ademic for speaking is Sceopi. This suggests that the Adem and the Edema Ruh share the same ancestry. I think the Adem thought that shaping leads to singing songs of power, which leads to speaking words of power. This could be the reason why the Adem frown upon singing and talking excessively - because they think singing and speaking is associated with shaping.

If you think about their devotion to the Lethani and their story about Aethe and Rethe's 99 stories (and less obvious, but the Sithe and the Cthe, or Cthaeh), it is obvious that they are keen to guard themselves against some kind of corruption. I think they are guarding themselves against shaping, especially considering their unexplained respect of Names - of person's Name, sword's Name and its wielders' Names. Maybe the real reason behind the "Adem vs Edema Ruh fall out" was that of shaping vs naming.

I am also convinced that the Adem know something about greystones and the Fae (the creation of shaping); early in NotW, Arliden tells us that greystones lead to Fae in a poem (which is where the name The Great Stone Road came from - the greystone road leading to... somewhere. Faeriniel perhaps).

Now, in Kvothe's stone trial in Ademre, the setting of the stone trial is described like this: "There were [i]four corners, four ... at the top of the hill stood a tall greystone, familiar as a friend." The symbolism of 'four corners' and 'four greystones' cannot be coincidence; the stone trial, if not deliberately done, then at least in tradition, represents something of both the mortal world and the fae realm.

Anyway, in the Faeriniel story, it mentions that as Sceop was telling the story, his words gained power. And when he finished the story, it says the Edema Ruh felt like waking from a deep sleep. Doesn't that sound like some sort of a charm? Doesn't that remind you, specifically, of Skarpi and Kvothe?

Now, the alternate spelling for Sceop is Scop. Add the 'i' at the end like the Ademic word and you get Scopi. Skarpi and Scopi. Also, the word 'sceop' in Proto-Germanic is "skapiz". Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not.

But if it turns out that Skarpi is Scopi is Sceop is a shaper/singer, this means that the "Lanre Turned" story might be warped to fit the shapers/Iax's side. Remember that it never actually says who the 'enemy' is although it's carefully phrased to sound like it's the giant black beast. It never confirms the 'enemy' was Iax. This might be the reason why Denna's song/story had such different content. This might be the reason why Skarpi says the story is about the man who gained better sight, despite obviously talking about Lanre the whole time.

Furthermore, if shapers are related with singers, it means that those angels (Tehlu and co) might be associated with shapers. Remember, we get all of this from Skarpi so if he's twisted the story, then what we know of angels and Haliax & co kinda falls apart. Remember that when Kvothe thought he felt "wings of fire and shadow" (the sign of angels) in Tarbean, the actual savior was the guy dressed as Encanis (the demon).

Lastly, this newfound potential relationship between shaping and singing songs of power calls into question the reason for the existence and identity of the Edema Ruh, Illien the reinventor of lute (or could it be Iax's flute in Hespe's story, given the similarity of spelling between flute and lute - and he is known in the Fae, the creation of shapers) and Kvothe's performance of Savien Traliard and Denna's role as Aloine, an anagram of Eolian (wind). Remember that Denna called herself Alora in Severen; I'm convinced that is Aloine (eolian = wind) + Lyra (lyre = harp or lyrics). But why and its significance? I have no idea.

But the important point is that all of this, including the apparent power of the shapers to shape something to be how they want it to be, seems to imply that Skarpi has somehow fixed Kvothe in a particular set of views. He never doubts Skarpi's story, even when the love of his heart comes up with the counterpoint. He never "gets" Denna. He never doubts that the Amyr are like holy knights and the Chandrian a group of evil demigods.

Which in the end makes me wonder what exactly the Chronicler, a friend of Skarpi, is doing at Kote's inn.

Sorry for this massive theory-bomb, but all of it suddenly connected in my head and I thought I would leave it up for you guys to scrutinize.
thistle pong
316. thistlepong

which part's you and which part's lifted from /kingkillerchronicle? I found the sceop part, but...
Wallace Forman
317. WallaceForman

Interesting thoughts on Sceop, shapers, Lanre, etc. I'm not convinced that anything definitive can be pulled out of the mire of the Creation War until D3, but it's plausible.

I had a more pedestrian theory for Ademic hand-talk. My thought is that hand-talk is a natural outgrowth of Ademre's total focus on training perfect warriors. The Adem learn never to stop assessing the stance and potential threat expressed by those around them, and watching the face, rather than the posture, of others becomes a dangerous distraction. (It is not "civilized".) The natural emotion that tends to accompany certain physical postures comes to be understood by careful Adem observers. Posture becomes pidgin, then creole, and at some point Adem start to supplement the natural emotions inherent in certain stances with more or less idiomatic motions designed to intentionally express certain meanings. We see something similar with the Ademic heirarchy of standing spaces. The threat, challenge, or respect inherent in certain distances between people relates to both communication and combat.

After the development of full hand-talk, Adem can communicate as effectively as with their faces, without having to "lower their guard". (Or conversely, intentionally displaying a lowered guard with certain postures?) Moreover, I suppose it helps them to develop hand-eye coordination, to some extent.
J Town
318. pianohtoaster
@ 316

I googled the word Sceop, read the reddit post again and everything just came together in my head. So I guess it's hard to tell those two apart, but basically anything that isn't in the reddit post is my theory.

I know you've studied these 2 books quite a lot; what are your opinions? As you may know, when everything makes sense in your head so suddenly like that, it is very easy to overlook evidence against it and I would like to have some perspective on this crazy theory.

Personally I really think Sceop = Skarpi = shaper. And that the Edema Ruh are on the shapers' side and the Adem on the namers' side. And that the angels are on the shapers' side. And that the Chronicler is hiding his true identity/power.

(sorry about the really long italic post by the way, I'm not sure how that happened)
thistle pong
319. thistlepong

I think I'd be disappointed if Skarpi was Sceop, but that doesn't make it impossible or anything. There have been theories involving linguistic and symbolic gymnastics that show a throughline from Aleph to Manet with Skarpi, Sceop, and Bredon in between as well, which might be coloring initial impressions.

What I can do is assure you Pat's fully aware of the Scop/Sceop/&c. etymology. You can read his "The Lay of the Eastern King," online. A sceop features prominently and he's talked about them on the blog, I think, a couple times as well. The Ademic word you're using is sceopa, though I don't think that substantially alters your speculation.

Personally I really think Sceop = Skarpi = shaper. And that the Edema Ruh are on the shapers' side and the Adem on the namers' side. And that the angels are on the shapers' side. And that the Chronicler is hiding his true identity/power.

I sort of struggle with the underlined bit myself. I've had that impression on and off for a long time, but asserting it in any meaningful way necessitates imagining a motive. And things get weird. So, like, we can be pretty sure ::handwaing:: that the Mortal attacked Faen to stop the shapers. Maybe the shapers sent Tehlu&Pals to make sure that never happened again? ::shrugging:: It kind of make sense given the record of the church and empire they were eventually associated with. ::nodding::

*@315 is kinda, er, big, and I can't address all the details at the moment
J Town
320. DVDA
@143, There was no update for March or April. Will there be one for May or is this enjoyable reread concluded for the most part? Thank you either way.
J Town
321. Silkki
But, if we look at the riddle, the Lackless doors must be opened with a
ring unworn. What's a ring unworn?
It's almost conclusive from the Finnish translation that the ring is not a ring you would wear on your finger, but a loop in a boarder sense. Something like a circle of greystones.
Jeremy Raiz
322. Jezdynamite
Perhaps like the double circle of greystones that Kvothe dreams about after his parents are killed.

NOTW, chap 18: Roads to safe places
Then Ben was no longer there, and there was not one standing stone, but many. More than I had ever seen in one place before. They formed a double circle around me. One stone was set across the top of two others, forming a huge arch with thick shadow underneath. I reached out to touch it. . . .
Which was in the same dream sequence involving a "herb/survival lesson from Laclith" (a huntsman/woodsman who journeyed with the troupe) whose name is the same as a branch of the Lackless/Loeclos family.
thistle pong
323. thistlepong

I vaguely remember that, but I can't find the original comment. Can you? Was it you?
Steven Halter
324. stevenhalter
thistlepong@323:It is Silkki from:
thistle pong
325. thistlepong
You're more than I deserve. Thank you.

EDIT: removed secondary question
thistle pong
326. thistlepong

from a reader of the Spanish translation:

"Jakis changes into Anso in spanish. It's deppends on the language you read the book. So I think there's no relation between Jakis and Jax."

Not sure how prevalent that speculation was, but it might help pare down the possibilities.
Jo Walton
327. bluejo
I have not been beta-reading D3, I wouldn't do that to you!

If and when I get an ARC -- I did for NW and WMF, so it's fairly plausible -- I will immediately let you know. I can't really imagine reading D3 without you. I'll probably write the world's longest spoiler review.

I haven't been here because I was finishing a book and, um, immediately starting another one which I am now about a third of the way through. (I never do this.) I'm really sorry I didn't post anything for you in March or April. I've just posted a really really short little post for May which should be up tomorrow. It's really just so people don't have to scroll down 326 posts when they want to say something.

I will sometime finish talking about women, but goodness knows when. No promises. I'm really busy, and also writing.
John Graham
328. JohnPoint
Thanks for the update, Jo, and congratulations on getting lots of writing done! I certainly didn't intend to cast any false accusations your way @308, so I hope there are no hard feelings.

Looking forward to the update tomorrow!
Jeremy Raiz
329. Jezdynamite
Wow Jo, you sure have been busy. Good luck with the new books.

I love these posts, but I'm very happy to wait until you have some spare time. Its good for me to focus on other parts of my life rather than being so KKC obsessed.
Sean Newton
330. SJN
As someone who has enjoyed your other novels, hearing that you are working on some new stuff is great, Jo.

I've been rereading the books again, and a couple ideas struck me. I apologize for jumping in the middle of an ongoing conversation. Also, this turned out to be quite a bit longer than I orignally meant it to be. Sorry about that.

First one might already have been floated. I think Folly, the sword in Kvothe's inn, is Cinder's sword. For proof: looking at the description of Folly from NotW ch. 3:
"It shone a dull grey-shite in the room's autumn light. It had the apperance of a new sword. It was not notched or rusted. There were no bright scratches skittering along its dull grey side. But though it was unmarred, it was old. And while it was obviously a sword, it was not a familiar shape. At least, no one in this town would found it familiar. It looked as if an alchemist had distilled a dozen swords, and when the crucible had cooled this was lying in the bottom: a sword in its pure form. It was slender and graceful. It was deadly as a sharp stone beneath swift water."
Then look as the description of Cinder's sword NotW ch. 16:
"His sword was pale and elegant. When it moved it cut the air with a brittle sound. It reminded me of the quiet that settles on the coldest days in winter when it hurts to breath and everything is still."
So, not too similar, but there are some things in common. The sword is grey, and it is exceptional. Also, there is Bast's reaction to the sword. He is afraid of it, which would make sense for a fae creature if the sword was iron. But a couple things about that. A)The sword doesn't sound like its made of iron. B)When Kvothe is dealing with the scraeling, he states that steel won't work, that there is too much carbon, that he needs straight up iron. Perhaps Bast has a similar reaction. Swords having a high carbon content might actually not be as scary for him as an iron bar. The thought being that he is scared not because the sword is steel, but because it belonged to the Chandrian.

Also, there is an interesting textual hint, where in the inscription of the book Ben gives Kvothe, Rhetoric and Logic, it says in part,
"Remember you father's song. Beware of folly."
That juxtaposition seems interesting to me. The song about the chandrian, and the word folly. This could be a bit of a weak idea.

Idea #2: What if the world of Four Corners was created by a namer, like Fae? Couple things that support this: Aleph is mentioned by Kvothe as having created the world when he begins telling his story to Chronicler. Later, Aleph is mentioned in Skarpi's first story as being one of the few namers that can match Selitos in power. Aleph is mentioned in Skarpi's story as being the one to create the 'angels' or whatever Tehlu and that whole bunch become. Also, something about the fact that the world has four corners, each week has ten days, four weeks in a month, etc. The simple regularity of the calendar seems to me something that is designed. Meant to seem designed, that is, as obviously Rothfuss created it.

What's interesting about this is that if Haliax's goal is to destroy the world, specifcally that of Four Corners, it now seems like an actually attainable goal. Something that was created by a powerful namer (Aleph) can potentially be destroyed by another powerful namer (Haliax). Villians with doomsday plots are a bit of a cliche, but if this idea is true then the stakes are are raised quite a bit.

Idea #3: This one is a bit of a doozy. I think Denna and Kvothe are incarnations, or avatars or some such, of whatever the equivalent of angels would be. Perhaps a better comparison would be the Mara of Middle Earth, and the Istari who are sent to help in the fight against Morgoth/Sauron. Maybe they don't know they are, but they are the human representations of the dudes Aleph turns Tehlu and that whole bunch into in that part of the second story Skarpi tells that we see.

Support: Trapis's story about Menda that is Tehlu. Tehlu came to earth in the form of a man to rid the world of demons cause he's such a swell guy. God. Whatever. This could be a standard rip off of a certain religious belief in what we are please to call the real world. Or! It could be a clue! What if Tehlu actually came to 'earth' in the guise of a man, and what if those other guys Aleph turns into also could?

If we look at that second story that Skarpi tells, where he transforms those guys into angel type people, we see Tehlu is the first to volunteer for the transformation. The next two are:
"Tall Kirel, who had been burned but left living in the ash of Myr Tariniel. Deah, who had lost two husbands to the fighting and whose face and mouth and heart were hard and cold as stone."
That sounds to me like it could be Kvothe with the red hair that is frequently described as being flame like, and Denna, who does seem a little hard hearted on occasion.

Also, Aleph's charge to these guys is:
"All personal things must be set aside, and you must punish or reward only what you yourself witness from this day forth."
This geas would put a lot of Kvothe's actions in a different light. For example, his inability to let anyone get away with anything, even when it would probably be better, or at least easier and simpler, just to walk away. His sympathy, or at least common cause, with the Amyr might also be cause by this. It is slightly different, though, in that where the Amyr can judge and detect, and prevent bad things from happening, Tehlu and the angels can only punish and reward actions they personally see. The same with Kvothe, he only acts when he personally witnesses wrong doing, or kindness.

Also, the complete mess he makes of his personal life could be down to this.

The only time I have run across a time where he doesn't leap into action to defend the defenseless is as a boy in Tarbean he leaves another young boy to be assaulted by ruffians. I think it is accepted at this point that parts of himself were asleep in that time. Perhaps one of the things that was asleep was the 'divine' part of him that fueled the compulsion. And he says that this one event has stayed with him sharply and still pains him.

It would also explain how he could be not entirely human, but still be the son of his parents.

The other thing that is potentially explained is Denna's various 'D' names. If she is the avatar of Deah, then perhaps she knows it, or at least is influenced by it. All the names she chooses are variations on the original Deah.

Interested to hear others' thoughts.
Sahi Rioth
331. Sahirioth
@SJN, 330
I think Folly, the sword in Kvothe's inn, is Cinder's sword.
There are earlier posts on this - I think the conclusion was that there's evidence both for and against, and nothing certain for either stance to hold on to.
Aleph is mentioned by Kvothe as having created the world when he begins telling his story to Chronicler.
Due to the way in which Kvothe mentions this particular creation myth, I doubt he has much faith in it other than as just that, a MYTH. It's just a way to begin a story with a genesis everyone recognizes, like: "In the beginning, there was chaos. It swirled and twisted and folded in upon itself, and suddenly, in a burst of nothingness, it erupted and spat out Jo, Lady of the Blue and Mother of Blog Topics."
Also, something about the fact that the world has four corners, each week has ten days, four weeks in a month, etc. The simple regularity of the calendar seems to me something that is designed.
Eleven days in a week (span), isn't it? And four weeks in a month could well be arbitrary, or an approximation of a lunar cycle (remember, a lunar cycle in the real world is 28 days, thus 4 weeks, and a month is just slightly longer. That's just the Western/current Christian calendar, several other cultures use exact "moon-months".)
I think Denna and Kvothe are incarnations, or avatars or some such, of whatever the equivalent of angels would be.
I'd like to quote from an interview with PR, you can find it easily if you google rothfuss + prophecy.
HC: So if you were to make a list, what would be the top five fantasy clichés that people should avoid?
PR: Boy, it’s hard to limit it to just five…
1. Prophecy. I don’t ever want to read another novel about “the chosen one.”
This, along with a few comments PR has made (I can't seem to find the proper blog posts) concerning how he's not much for revelations along the lines of "Oh, the seemingly poor orphan turned out to have special powers because he was of royal/wizard/divine blood all along!". So while your theory is possible, I find it unlikely. (Which is why I'm also a bit sceptical towards the thesis that Kvothe will be the "heir who brings the blood" as mentioned in the Lackless rhyme.)
Carl Banks
332. robocarp

I never read the blog post you speak of, but I certainly felt that sentiment when I read the stories. It's one of the reasons I don't take Skarpi so literally. The description of Deah (and all the other angels) is too stylized to be real in Kvothe's world: the angels aren't described as real people are. They are more like archetypcal gods.

I agree with you on Aleph as well. Chronicler's reaction to Kote's words on Aleph was to laugh, which indicates that not only did Kote intend it as a joke, but Chronicler took it as one. My guess is that both myths are untrue (Aleph neither named everything nor was the one to discover names things already had) and that was the joke.
J Town
333. naupathia
The characters (in the frame) all being men doesn't bother me at all. Personally I felt that they're all men because it emphasizes Kvothe's LACK of women (and hence, romance). K is(was?) obviously in love with Denna, so the fact that he has no women with him to me seems to emphasize his loss - he doesn't want women around probably because it's Too Soon.

I think it also helps to prevent the invevitable shipping - if Bast was a female, there would be many who would "force" a relationship out of it. If Chronicler was a woman, she would be expected to save K from himself by The Power of Teh Sexy™. I'm not saying it's RIGHT for it to be that way, I'm just saying that there would be those who would EXPECT it that way.

I think by keeping it all male, it does add meaning to the frame, and not just "I'm sexist and don't like women". Considering what a careful writer Rothfuss is, and that he has plenty of powerful female women in the story, I am just more inclined to believe that the LACK of women in the frame is actually an important and meaningful detail.
J Town
334. Trollfot
While I agree with your post (sorry for being so terribly late to this party), I find it natural that a 15 year old boy would team up with other boys, especially considering how few girls there are at the University.

As a teenager, I was friends with a few guys but my closest friends were all girls. I often had lunch with the boys, but only felt comfortable calling one or two of them on the telephone. It was somehow easier to get close to the girls during those slightly awkward first years of teenagehood.

My little brother has a lot of close female friends, I think this is partly because he belongs to a slightly different generation. Our father once commented on this, saying he never had close female friends growing up (in the 60's) , it just didn't happen. I think a lot changed between the 60's and 00's (how is this pronounced?) so it's not unreasoneable to think things are different in Kvothe's world too.
Melanie S
335. starryharlequin
Now Rothfuss has built this world so that it’s a lot like the standard imagination of a fantasy world, like a late Renaissance with loads of magic but without gunpowder.
I've always thought the 4C world was more near-pre-industrial (ca 1750-1800) rather than late Renaissance, given not only the status of women, but the commonality of some types of (magically-supplemented) technology, the size of the cities, the scale of travel, etc. That is, a world becoming more comfortable with increased levels of mechanization without yet having full-scale industrial production. In fact, it's one of the things I like most about the setting: that it seems, to me, more developed than the standard Ye Olde Fantasy Worlde.

But admittedly I know very little about the late Renaissance (and it's possible there's a terminology thing here more than a difference of opinion, too...).
J Town
336. this-is-my-alias-darn-it
A thought on why there are no women regulars at the inn: it helps show that the inn is failing.

I've been watching "Bar Rescue," one of the things that comes up frequently on that show is that if women won't come to a bar, the bar cannot be successful.

If Kote's inn has no women regulars, then it isn't a very successful business.
Chester Moy
337. WalkMansEar
I can think of one reason why Bast should be male. He's a 150 year old faen creature that can be so cruel and inhuman. Yet, he is so devoted to Kvothe. And his devotion isn't due to K being his new boy-toy or "manling". He's practically subservient to Kvothe.

That kind of devotion towards Kvothe from a female character would probably grind some peoples' gears.. Especially if there isn't any obvious reason for that level of devotion.

I think it'd be cool to have a female Chronicler. But at the same time, the character would have to be fundamentally different. The Chronicler is able to get by by willingly giving up his belongings. He gives little resistance to bandits and thieves and is able to trick them into leaving his real money purse alone.

I feel that a female character with this type of personality wouldn't survive nearly as well while traveling alone. She would have to be tougher than the current paperpushing Chronicler that has no backbone (which I kinda like, given his interactions with Elodin).

Then again, if she wears a giller and advertises that she is a fullfledged graduate of the Arcanum, that might deter a whole lot of people anyway, especially in Vint.

I also have some ideas for why there might not be any women visiting the pub. I have to make a few assumptions for these though, so they're not really perfect.

The men are more weary of men from the outside. I imagine the males would want to go check out who this outsider is... size him up and find out what he's up to. So I bet Old Cob's group was the first to enter his Inn. And when Cob's group decided to stay, that was the moment the Waystone's culture was established. It's a stretch, yeah, I know.

Another possibility is that Bast's presence is actually keeping all the women away from the Inn. You might think that Bast's presence would actually encourage more women to go to the Inn. However, if Bast is actually sleeping around with half the population, it might be awkward to show up at the Inn, especialy if their husband or children are there.

As for people stalking Bast, they would prefer to stalk him outdoors because for some reason, everyone thinks Bast has poor eyesight.

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