Apr 3 2014 2:00pm

Rothfuss Reread: Making a Mask for Patrick Rothfuss, Part 2

My obsessively detailed reread of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles is over, but we want to keep on talking about the books. I’m going to post the occasional continuation post when the last one gets too long or if there’s something to say.

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 reread index. The map. The timeline. Imaginary Linguistics.


So, Pat was GoH at Vericon, and Ada Palmer made him a wonderful Cthaeh mask, and he confirmed for me that it is pronounced cuh-tay. This mask was RobbYuan’s idea—well done Robb! Note the butterflies. I think it’s great. And Pat seemed really pleased with it.

He wasn’t going near any spoilers, as we’ve come to expect. He did confirm that he is revising D3 and it may be a while, and that he has a Bast and an Auri novella forthcoming, as well as the Laniel one. He talked about his writing process, how he takes a long time getting from first draft to what we see, complicating and recomplicating, weaving everything together and getting to the kind of levels of density we all love and appreciate. I mentioned how I had a line in one of my books “Time is rent from the worlds” and how impossible it would be to translate—though it has been translated—and I said pretty much everything in his books is like that, and he agreed, and talked about his translator forum and the kind of help he gives translators.

On a really panel about music and poetry in text, he said that he couldn’t play any instruments and everything about music in the books is made up. He writes poetry—well, we know that!—and he has had other people set things to music, but he hasn’t had all that much experience even with that. He just creates the illusion of music through the text. My considered reaction to that was “Wow.” And yes, he certainly does. I’d have sworn he had played a lyre with a broken string. But apparently not.

Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published three poetry collections and nine novels, including the Hugo and Nebula winning Among Others. She has just published a collection of her posts, What Makes This Book So Great. She has a new novel My Real Children coming out in May. She reads a lot, and blogs about it here irregularly. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are more varied.

2. shiznatikus
Huh. All this time I've pronounced it kuh-THAY-uh. Nice to know how he intended it, though.
Steven Halter
3. stevenhalter
Lovely mask. A great job by Ada Palmer.

I wouldn't have guessed cuh-tay as the pronunciation of
Cthaeh. Chthonic was clearly influencing me towards cuh- thay. Interesting.
thistle pong
4. thistlepong
Lovely. Thanks for sharing.

@3 & @ bluejo is that a typo?
5. mutantalbinocrocodile
At least we can conclude that ae is a diphthong rather than two syllables, whatever we do with the th. I was previously with @2.

If -tay is correct, then that's interesting, because it implies he's using Roman letters to spell sounds that are semantically interchangeable in English (in this case, an aspirated consonant). So few fantasy authors have the guts to go for anything but phonetic spelling.
Steven Halter
6. stevenhalter
Yeah, kuh-THAY-uh would also have been non-surprising. Or, actually, thay or thay-uh with the silent c wouldn't have surprised me.
Of course, Pat is just translating this from Aturan, so maybe he got it wrong. ;-)
7. mutantalbinocrocodile
But translating or transliterating? If the latter, it implies that Aturan has different aspirated and non-aspirated consonants which have to be approximated in Roman letters, which is a nice touch.

LOVE the mask.
thistle pong
8. thistlepong
The 2013 Worldbuilders adjacent AMA
Q: How the heck do you pronounce it?

A: In the audiobook it's pronounced "Cuh-thay"

Pat: Ding Ding Ding! We have a winner!

Patrick Rothfuss: Talks at Google (3-28-2014) - sounds like cuh-thay
Jo Walton
9. bluejo
Not a typo, that's what he said as best I remember.

I love the mask too. I declined an opportunity to try it on -- I didn't want to look through those eyes!
Steven Halter
10. stevenhalter
If Cthaeh produces cuh-tay then perhaps Kvothe (which we know sounds mostly like quothe) really also sounds mostly like Kote. Kote could be kothe instead of coat if the th can be transliterated in an interchangeable fashion.
thistle pong
11. thistlepong

Selection of Rothfuss and Nick pronouncing Kvothe:
Steven Halter
12. stevenhalter
jo@9:lol, good point. If you look through the eyes of the Cthaeh, then do you become the Cthaeh? Especially since the eyes are missing in the mask and that corresponds to a favorite theory here.
Steven Halter
13. stevenhalter
thistlepong@11:What I heard in the start of that sounded more like klothe to my ears. The later pronunciation was more v like.
This is all amusing me greatly, in any case.
thistle pong
14. thistlepong

That's probably where I should be. Perhaps it's pronounced nearly the same as "Quote."
Steven Halter
15. stevenhalter
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by Ademere whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
Kvothe the Raven “Nevermore.”

Clearly, Denna is Lenore.
Eric McCabe
16. Zizoz
I'd been pronouncing it "kthie-ay" (with a long I sound followed by a long A sound). Guess that wasn't the intended pronunciation.

The "th"s earlier in that video seem unvoiced (as in "thigh", as opposed to "thy"). In the quote at the end of the video the "th" barely seems to be pronounced at all. This annoys me as I'd been forcing myself to voice it on the basis of the extra e in "quothe"; not only do most if not all words in English ending in -the have a voiced th, the word "quoth" could have been used instead if the unvoiced th sound was intended.
Kate Hunter
17. KateH
Jo, all respect, but I asked him twice at Vericon to pronounce Cthaeh, and there was a definite th sound both times. Otherwise, your phonetic transcription is spot on. I had been pronouncing it in my mind with three syllables, but having got it from the horse's mouth is pretty definitive.

ETA: I also asked Pat for pronounciation of Kote. It sounds exactly like "coat." Again, I had been pronouncing it with an extra syllable.
18. mutantalbinocrocodile
I concede to those who have heard the -th- sound in person. However, a point still stands about transliteration out of Aturan which is valid however you pronounce "Cthaeh". Is -th- written with a single consonant in the Aturan alphabet, or with two? If it's a single consonant like Modern Greek theta, then Kote cannot have put an h in the chest. There never was an h. He would have swapped one consonant for another. Potentially big difference to that theory.
George Brell
19. gbrell
I'd always gone with CHI-tay ("chi" as in chittering).

Cuh-THAY makes sense if we're using Cthulhu as a model.

But cuh-tay makes sense, I guess.
Eric McCabe
20. Zizoz
@18: Writing is secondary to speech (an argument for this is that people learn speech naturally, while writing has to be taught), and in speech there are two different consonants.

That said, I don't subscribe to the idea that Kvothe's Name is "Kvothe". I rather doubt that Names can be written down at all, in fact. In that case, whether Aturan represents the dental fricative in question with one or two letters would matter only insofar as it influenced Kvothe's choice of the name.
21. mutantalbinocrocodile
@20, but is Kvothe his name, or his Name? There must be something that you can call someone that can be written down (Ben has to write Kvothe's name in his book inscription, and there are presumably written records of his University work).

For the record, I personally don't even like the theory that Kvothe has the letters V and H in the box, and I'm trying to undermine it by raising questions about the implied non-Roman script.
22. BigVik
Awesome mask! I was half expecting a red butterfly but I guess it's somewhere on the ground, it's wings broken...
But the eyes gave me a thought: I was never a fan of Selitos as Cthaeh theory and now I'm adding a physical evidence to it. How can Chtaeh precisely take out butterflies out of the air surrounding the tree when you need an accute three-dimensional visual ability to do so? Selitos, the One Eyed would have hard time perceiving depth, let alone precisely sticking out his serpentine tongue to snap those butterflies. I know this from personal experience having much weaker vision in one of my eyes. Without glasses I can't shoot the hoops, even though I can see the basketball board and the net just fine -- my 3D vision is gone and with it the judgement of the distances and all the neuromuscular circuits necessary to deliver the precise shot.
As for the pronounciation, I have to admit at never been able to pronounce Cthaeh to begin with. My vowely Slavic brain refuses to process those consonant pile-ups! Cuh-tay sounds like Kitay, a Russian name for China.
23. RobbYuan
Jeremy Raiz
24. Jezdynamite
Over on reddit , some folk are claiming that "Skarpi knowing Kvothe's name without being told" was confirmed as an editing mistake by PR. But they can't find anything concrete to back that up.

Does anyone have more info/clarity on this?
Kate Hunter
25. KateH
My vowely Slavic brain refuses to process those consonant pile-ups!
Huh? Slavic languages excell at pronouncing an unreasonable number of smashed together consonants with no intervening vowels. Example: "na moi v zglyad." (Sorry for the transcription; only Roman fonts here.) Having studied Russian allows me to pronounce Cthaeh as a single syllable, were it required.

Just for more clarity, the second syllable in cuh-THAY rhymes with way, not buy. English is a disaster when it comes to matching sound with text.

It's interesting to me that two words beginning with two consonantal sounds get different treatments in PR's world. Kvothe is one syllable. Cthaeh is two, and not where you'd think they would be. Both start with a K sound. Simply musing here, not putting on my copper foil hat...
thistle pong
26. thistlepong

I don't reckon you can see ten feet through three foot deep wastrels.


I also reckon ze's conflating an early, pre wmf report that Ambrose knowing Kvothe's name that first time in the Archives was an editing error with answers about Skarpi knowing Kvothe's name and Auri knowing where Kvothe lived, both of which have met with some variant of "Nobody poops in the books, either."
Ada Palmer
27. adapalmer
Thanks for the praise of my mask, everyone. It was an interesting structural challenge figuring out how to make the tree twine around the face in a way that was structurally stable but still looked chaotic. The butterflies are made of painted fathers, giving them a diferent texture from the paper parts of the mask, and one that absorbs light much the way fuzzy butterfly scales do.
John Graham
28. JohnPoint
KateH @25:
It's interesting to me that two words beginning with two consonantal sounds get different treatments in PR's world. Kvothe is one syllable. Cthaeh is two, and not where you'd think they would be. Both start with a K sound. Simply musing here, not putting on my copper foil hat...
I've thought a bit about this. Not only do they share the beginning K sound, but they also have the "th" sound. It is certainly possible that the two names share a root. In fact, we're almost directly told that they do. Compare:
But I was brought up as Kvothe. My father once told me it meant “to know."
"Oracle. How quaint. Do not try to pin me with small names. I am Cthaeh. I am. I see. I know.” Two iridescent blue-black wings fluttered separately where there had been a butterfly before. “At times I speak."
As has been speculated previously (sorry, but I don't remember off hand who made the speculation, and haven't had a chance to look it up...), it's likely that "I am. I see. I know." is the tripartite meaning of "Cthaeh", as per Ademic names and words. As such, the words "Cthaeh" and "Kvothe" share the meaning - or at least the root - of "to know". I don't think that this necessarily connects the characters, but the names could well share a root or meaning.
29. mutantalbinocrocodile
@25, that's really getting exactly at my point. Many languages permit consonantal sounds, or consonant clusters, that are not permissible in English phonology. But when they don't use Roman script, then the transliterations end up looking like it's an even bigger cluster than it really is, because you need two Roman consonants to write what is really one consonant. So, using Greek examples, th for theta, ph for phi, ps for psi, etc. (Sorry, this format won't let me type the actual characters, but they're all single consonants.)

In addition, as you have sagely pointed out, kv stands for a single consonant resulting in a monosyllabic word, but apparently cth is two syllables (which suggests that c is vowelized, like some Sanskrit "consonants"). That seems to be strong evidence that Aturan has a very different set of consonants than English. Plus, using kv where qu would clearly have done the trick is probably just PR messing with us. ;)

And if that's the case, while it's still possible that Kvothe's true name is "the thing in the chest", it's no longer tenable that "the V and the H are the things in the chest", because it's overwhelmingly likely that Kvothe writes his name with a maximum of four letters (assuming that Aturan script has vowels hehe.)
thistle pong
30. thistlepong

Is there any chance of a blog about the construction of the mask?
Steven Halter
31. stevenhalter
thistlepong@30:That would be cool and fun.
Sahi Rioth
32. Sahirioth
Loving the mask!

And on the pronunciation of Cthaeh (why do people find that hard to spell, anyway?), I've been in the 'kuh-thay' (or rather k-thay) camp from the start. Voiceless 'th' sound (as in 'thanks'). I'm just so used to the 'ae' in fantasy names being pronounced either as the word 'eye' or as the 'ay' in 'bay'.

So to me, Faeton is 'fay-tonne', Cershaen is 'Sir Shine', and the Mael is 'male/mail'. Oddly, though, I feel like pronouncing Kaepcaen as 'cup kine', thus utilizing the other (Icelandic?) way of prnouncing 'ae'.
33. BigVik
@25 KateH

Latin transcription of Russian adds extra consonants where there are none to begin with. In Cyrillic alphabet a lot of those funny looking groupings are represented with one letter. Also, some of the letters considered consonants in English are "semi-vowels" in Slavic languages. Take R for example, we roll it "RRRRR" so it can be used as a vowel in words that seemingly lack vowels like "krv" (blood), "crv" (worm), "Grk" (Greek). Z is another one ("ZZZZZ") that can be "vowelized".
Kate Hunter
34. KateH
@BigVik, re: Russian => Latin transcription.

I see what you're saying, but Russian still packs consonants together in larger clumps than English does. In the example I gave, only the Y in zglyad is an artifact of transcription, to represent the soft Russian A (= "ya" in transcription). That leaves ZGL right next to each other, and preceded by the V with no vowel separation. Those unfamiliar with Russian might imagine that there must be some added vowel sounds in there that simply aren't represented by text. But that's not the case. The initial V gets some help from the vowel (diphthong) that precedes it, but that's it. What looks unpronouncable to an English speaker is, quite simply, pronounced. As a non-native speaker, it takes getting used to the fact that this is possible. I'm sure to native speakers it's utterly unremarkable.
Jo Walton
35. bluejo
My NotW playing cards have arrived.

I think the next post will be about things one might be able to learn from them, if people would be interested.
36. BigVik
@34 KateH

I wouldn't know, I don't speak Russian. When I hear it I think I understand it but in reality I don't. The roots are the same but meanings have drifted away.

All this linguistic stuff makes me wonder if anyone has come closer to translating the attempts at dialogue by the alleged skindancer in the frame story of NotW? I have a feeling that if we mannaged to translate those few sentences we'd get quite a bit of insight as to what's going on.

What languages PR borrowed from I can't tell, but one passage did remind me of my own language" "Te varayin Seathaloi?" sounded to me like "You cheated Sithe?", just because "varati" means "to cheat" where I come from. Not that it is likely to be truth, just putting it out there...

BTW, how are these passages spelled out in the translated versions? Is it verbatim, or did they transliterate them into something else? I'd appreciate if those privy to such editions would chime in and let us know.
Jeremy Raiz
38. Jezdynamite
Thanks. I had a feeling there might have been some confusion going on.

I'd love that. Thanks. Unfortunately, being one of the international orders, my cards haven't arrived yet. I'll add my comments to the blog once I've had a chance to look at the cards first hand.
John Graham
39. JohnPoint
Jo@35: YES! Please, yes! I have been informed that mine are on their way, but have yet to see them on my stoop. Regardless, I think that's a fantastic idea.

BigVik@36: there have definitely been attempts to translate the skindancer's speech. I haven't seen anything definitive, but there are some ideas bandied about. Check out the Imaginary Linguistics page (linked above in the "Useful Links" section of the header to the post) for a bit of the discussion.

ETA: Rats, the "imaginary linguistics" link is broken, since they moved/closed the Tor forums. Attn Steven: can you post the link to the new Wiki that you built (if it's out of beta testing)? We should get the link on the Reread header fixed as well...
Jo Walton
40. bluejo
If somebody gives me the correct link -- or posts it here -- I can fix it in the header. Well, I can certainly fix it on this post and for future posts, maybe I won't go back and fix it in all the old posts, that would take forever.
Kate Hunter
41. KateH
I look forward to a discussion of the playing cards. I just got the set I won at Vericon's charity auction. I can see there are some pretty interesting things going on in some of these cards. Would love to see the images and their meanings chewed over by this crowd.
Ada Palmer
42. adapalmer
thistlepong@30, yes, I could write up something about it. What types of things would people want to hear about? The ideas behind the design? Or more the mechanics of the construction?
Steven Halter
43. stevenhalter
JohnPoint@39 & Jo@40:The wiki is at:
Jo Walton
44. bluejo
OK, link changed in this post, and I will keep it changed hereafter. Thanks Steven Halter!
45. Marco.

Don't forget about "Cmrt"!
thistle pong
46. thistlepong

TheYllest put up an image gallery for folks still waiting.
Tricia Irish
47. Tektonica
I'm posting this query here, as it's the most recent post concerning The Kingkiller Chronicles.

I just finished WMF myself, and loved it, and I've been trying to read through Jo's old posts, and some of the comments, but I'm pretty much a newbie to this world and out of time before JCon.

If any of you have any questions you would like asked at JordanCon, where Pat is the guest of honor, I'd love to hear them!! And ask them!!

Or....if you're going to JCon, let's get together in the lobby or bar and have a discussion!

Post questions here or in my shoutbox. Thanks!!
48. BigVik

Thanks for posting the card pictures. Are we allowed to discuss them here? Is there more (the full deck)? Some things are seemingly obvious, but some are a mystery (like who's the couple sitting at the table?). I bet PR left an Easter Egg or two for the ones looking carefully.
thistle pong
49. thistlepong

The couple sitting at the table is Bast and the $2000 backer awardee.
Kate Hunter
50. KateH
@BigVik #48

Maybe I'm getting ahead of the deck discussion post as well, but...The couple sitting at the table has got to be Fela and Sim (JS), even though Fela has her own card as a scriv (QH). Love Fela's subtly muscled forearm! Not the arms of a maiden. The Jack of Hearts is the one that puzzles me. Could that be Threpe? I picture him as much older than the man shown there.

There are lots of little details on these cards that are going to provide many more hours of commentary and theorizing.
Kate Hunter
51. KateH
The couple sitting at the table is Bast and the $2000 backer awardee.
Oh. Really?
52. Marco.

If you get the chance, ask him "How is the road to Tinue?"

Thistle and I share a pet theory that this question is the Amyr secret handshake. I'm curious how he'd respond.
thistle pong
53. thistlepong
Pledge $2,000 or more 1 backer All gone!
Bast's Girlfriend - One lucky female will be prominently displayed with everyone's favorite bad boy. You'll also receive 1 Limited Edition deck, 1 Unlimited deck, and a signed art print of the card where you appear.
I'll do this in the order presented in the gallery.

Box (Back): Kvothe on Tarbean rooftops
Box (Front): bridge over the Omethi River, Achives visible

Poker Chips
"Wary" Coin

Red Unlimited Edition card back

Gaff Card: Willem

Joker: Auri (based on Felicia Day)
Joker: Elodin (based on Neil Gaiman)

JD: Ambrose (based on Jim Butcher)
QD: Devi
KD: Kilvin
AD: suit icon (Kilvin's Lamps)

JC: Kvothe - Troupe/Waystone
QC: Laurian
KC: Arliden
AC: suit icon (Arliden's Lute)

JH: Simmon
QH: Fela
KH: Stanchion/Deoch
AH: suit icon (Talent Pipes)

JS: Bast and "girlfriend"
QS: Denna
KS: Kvothe
AS: suit icon (Folly)

Bookplate: Lorren
thistle pong
54. thistlepong

I'm only just learning about masks, so I'm not sure what to ask. I'd love to hear about the ideas you explored and the mechanics of construction. Did they affect each other? Like, did you choose the mask shape because it was strong(er)? Why two colors? Are you proud of your incredible butterflies?
55. Marco.
Key, coin, and candle show up in the Auri card.
I generally considered these items to be a throw away, just embellishment for the Taborlin story. That Auri gave Kvothe a key was just a bit of a coincidence.

Now though, I 'm looking at it again. Is there a connection between Auri and Taborlin? Or are these just the essential tools of a namer, and despite being half cracked she is one?
Ada Palmer
56. adapalmer
thistlepong@54 I'll try to answer in detail, then, when I have a chance. Soemthing on maskmaking in general as well as this mask's details. Soon, hopefully.
thistle pong
57. thistlepong
'Sup, UK fans?
Gollancz, an imprint of the Orion Publishing Group, are delighted to announce the acquisition of UK and Commonwealth Rights to a new title from the award-nominated Sunday Times and New York Times bestselling author, Patrick Rothfuss. THE SLOW REGARD OF SILENT THINGS is a must-read novella set in Pat Rothfuss’s extraordinary Kingkiller Universe.
Sahi Rioth
58. Sahirioth
@ Thistlepong, 57

Does it smell of royal Fae? Or a nimbus of blond hair and gifts full of riddles?
Patrick Stultz
59. Audion
Yay finally got my stuff. The cards are very cool.. with a lot of tantalizing hints. Same with the Coin, even though the back of the coin looks like something from Eragon.
Alf Bishai
60. greyhood
Jo - a note about the broken string scene (from a professional musician):

If the piece was highly intricate (I seem to remember there being many lines at once ) and barely playable on seven strings, then the feat described - playing it with a broken string - is not difficult, it's virtually impossible. He could have played some deeply-compromised version of the piece, but not the piece as it was known - something like - in a rock context - playing 'Can't Get No Satisfaction', but without the famous guitar riff. This is because there are real limitations to the specific notes and ranges that are available on each string, as well as how far the hand can stretch to reach several notes at once.

There are so many ideas and scenarios centred around music that I really love in these books. (Just not that particular physically-impossible save - sorry!)
John Graham
61. JohnPoint
Greyhood @60:

The difficulty playing Sir Savien is more about the multiple different melodies at play between the lute and the voices. Here's the description of it:
I sensed his unspoken advice and was not offended. “Sir Savien” is the most difficult song I had ever heard. My father had been the only one in the troupe with the skill to perform it, and I had only heard him do it perhaps four or five times in front of an audience. It was only about fifteen minutes long, but those fifteen minutes required quick, precise fingering that, if done properly, would set two voices singing out of the lute at once, both a melody and a harmony.That was tricky, but nothing any skilled lutist couldn’t accomplish. However, “Sir Savien” was a ballad, and the vocal part was a counter melody that ran against the timing of the lute. Difficult. If the song was being done properly, with both a man and a woman alternating the verses, the song was further complicated by the female’s counter harmony in the refrains. If it is done well, it is enough to cut a heart. Unfortunately, few musicians could perform calmly in the center of such a storm of song.
And Kvothe definitely didn't make the song perfect, but rather "whole" and recognizable. Consider:
It was not perfect. No song as complex as “Sir Savien” can be played perfectly on six strings instead of seven. But it was whole, and as I played the audience sighed, stirred, and slowly fell back under the spell that I had made for them.
I take this scene as evidence for Kvothe being able to Name via his music. As I've explored previously, I think that there are different ways to Name, and music is (can be) one of them. Another example is the idea of the perfect step (cartwheel, etc.), as a kinesthetic form of Naming. While he's an orphan in the woods, Kvothe learned to play essentially anything -- Leaf Turning, Riding on the Wagon with Ben, etc. He is Naming these feelings and memories via music. As such, the scene at the Eolian is more than being able to play a complicated song on 6 strings. It's actually magic at work.
Andrew Mason
62. AnotherAndrew
The Slow Regard of Silent Things sounds to me like a book by Alexander McCall Smith.
Tricia Irish
63. Tektonica

I met Pat, had some funny chats, but he absolutely refused to answer any questions about the books! He's very afraid of spoiling Book 3.
Well, damn.
I'm so sorry I did not get a response to your question!
64. AngerOfAGentleMan
These threads have gotten so huge, that I have no clue if this theory has been brought op before (probably has), but here I go.
A thought for the fae/mortal world split: judging by mentions in the book so far, the fae/mortal peoples began in one world. This could suggest that they were originally the same people, and that for every person, there is a faen counterpart, ie. Felurian is faen Denna or somesuch.
65. Mittel
I'm sorry if this has already been discussed, but I'm doing a re-re-read of the first two books, now going through this re-read as I advance in them. I've just passed the Maer's poisoning plot and started to imagine why would Caudicus try to poison him. I apologise if someone has already brought this up, as I haven't read all the coments, but on Kvothe's firsts encounter with Caudicus, the arcanist says that he "wintered with the Jakis family not long ago" (WMF, chapter 62, p.423) and it got me thinking that maybe he did it under Ambrose's father orders.I know this may be a long stretch, but let's look at what we know:
1) Caudicus and the Jakis know each other well enough so the arcanist would spend a whole season in the family's house.
2) Unlike the majority of the Vintic people, the Jakis doesn't have so many restraints against the University. Ambrose wouldn't be attending it if they did, and he IS the family heir. I will, therefore, believe that his father has at least some knowledge of what an arcanist is really capable of, or else he wouldn't send his first son to such a place.
3) As with the death of that whole noble family in the sea, it has already been discussed that Ambrose's father could be trying to put himself closer to the throne someway. I can't speak for the king of Vintas, but to me it seems that having the Maer in the throne would make it very harder for Baron Jakis sometime reaching it.
So, my theory is this: having knowledge of what an arcanist can do, Ambrose's father hired Caudicus to poison the Maer. As there are still a lot of other people between Jakis and the king, there was no point in making it a fast death. On the contrary, it would look a lot less suspicious if the Maer died after a long and well known illness than from of a sudden disease or accident.
I'm not completely convinced by this, as it is a plan that must have been in motion for more than a dozen years, and with maybe some more of them yet ahead (althoug the Maer said some of the simptons started sometime after he hired Caudicus, so the arrangemet could have been made after Caudicus started working for Alveron) but as far as I know, the Maer's poisoning plot doesn't have a better explanation than just making Kvothe gain the Maer's trust. If that plot was there just for this, I think there would be no reason for Caudicus first escaping, reinforcing his presence in the story with his later capture.
Kate Hunter
66. KateH
@Mittel, #65 re Caudicus poisoning Maer for Jakis family

Not bad. I haven't seen this discussed before. It's worth considering, imo, despite the long time-frame of the Maer's illness that you pointed out. I also wonder what, if any, information was extracted from Caudicus before he was "dealt with." The Maer seems intelligent enough to want to know a motivation, and ruthless enough to try a great deal of persuasion to get it.
67. Nameless
During one of his visits, Kvothe speculates that
Caudicus is just repeating a sequence of steps he had watched someone else do to produce the medicine. It is furthermore stated that he took over the tower from the former arcanist. I always wondered if
Caudicus is simply to stupid to realize that a lead bowle is the wrong vessel to brew the potion. Thinking about it, it is unneccessarily complicated to have a lead bowl instead of using something made out of copper or glas and then puring some lead into it.

When Caudicus then learns from Stapes about Kvothe activities he comes up with the trick of making the potion sweet, panicks and leaves. I am only 20% convinced of this idea, but still look forward if this will be resolved in D3.
68. FalconGK81
@67: Didn't they say in D2 that Caudicus had been captured and "dealt with"? Not sure how this is supposed to be resolved any more than it has.

Comment 166 of the last post had a great moment that I think went largely unnoticed/discussed. It was suggested that Kvothe learns the name of Silence (this is the ring without a name), and that is why the silence at the inn is described as belonging to him. I hadn't heard anyone make this suggestion before, and I thought it was awesome. Has there been much discussion of this in past threads?
Steven Halter
69. stevenhalter
They said Caudicus had been dealt with. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen.
70. Rings Unseen
A thought:
It would be worthy to note whenever brass is mentioned in the books. Toward the end of NOTW, when Kvothe and Denna are talking about loden stones, Denna wonders whether a brass loden stone would attract brass, and Kvothe suggests that it would probably attract zinc and copper, the raw metals the alloy is made up of. Copper has some negative effect on naming; it's in the haven walls, Rothfuss mentions on his blog about how a copper knife would be useful to kill a namer. So, mentions of brass or copper??? In the wise man's fear, I've noticed it a couple of times, such as Kote having his barrels bound in brass rather than iron. It seems like this is mainly due to Bast's faen iron allergy, but maybe the brass/ copper is to help suppress his name/naming???
71. Rogerdodge
Jo, I find myself wishing to join the ranks of the arcanum, so I hereby present an essay on the magics of the four corners in place of a standard admissions interview.

When we catalog the magics present in the four corners, we find ourselves with Sympathy, Sygaldry, Alchemy, Naming, and Shaping. All readers at this point should possess a working understanding of Sympathy and Sygaldry, but I wish to touch on a few points to clarify some things that may not be obvious, and are treated as facts for the remainder of this essay although they cannot be proven.

First we have Sympathy. Elodin tells us that Sympathy was created at the university. Sympathy is a way to channel energy of different types to accomplish a task. Energy can also be converted from one type to another using Sympathy, but cannot be created or destroyed. All these facts are clear in the books. Also clear in the books are the requirements for performing sympathy, the Allar and the spoken bindings. This brings us to the first point of unstated fact, Sympathetic bindings use pieces of the NAME or NAMES of energy. Some of you may ask how I come to this conclusion, and I find that a fair question so I will tell you. The only magics we see in the book that have power in the form of spoken words, are Naming, Shaping and the fae magic that Felurian uses. I believe that the power of the Fae magics comes from the fact that the fae language is so old that the words are very close to names in and of themselves, but i cannot prove it, so lets move on and simply consider the following as if the assumption is true.

Next we have Sygaldry. From what we read in the books, Sygaldry does what Sympathy does, but does so with writing. I believe the Runes of Sygaldry to be the written forms of the same NAME fragments used in sympathy, along with fragments of NAMES for materials. Some may argue that the names of the runes are not the same as the words of the bindings, so they cant be the same things. While i conceed that the names of the runes are likely very different fron the spoken bindings (Kvothe would likely have commented on any significant similarity), I do not conceed that they need to be different things. In Sympathy it is the spoken form that is important, and so that is the part that is preserved. In Sygaldry only the Written form is truly important. the name given to the rune means nothing. Thus the name given to the runes can change significantly over time, resulting in the apparent difference.

Third we have Alchemy. We get far less information about Alchemy than we do about Sympathy or Sygaldry, so we must look at it very closely to gain any insight into the subject. There are two things that we know for certain are important parts of alchemy, "factoring" and "unbinding principles". It is strongly implied that the changes to the mind that allow Sympathy and Sygaldry are also required for Alchemy.

"Arcanum training does unnatural things to students’ minds. The most notable of these unnatural things is the ability to do what most people call magic and we call sympathy, sygaldry, alchemy, naming, and the like."

If you consider the meaning of the word "factor", it seems to imply that the factoring in alchemy is some way to reduce things to a simpler, more pure component. When you combine this with the phrase "unbinding principles", the only thing that makes sense to me, is that Alchemy breaks down elements, chemicals, or perhaps even objects into the most basic aspects of themselves, then re-combines them with principles from something else to make an entirely new substance with the properties that are desired. Obviously I do not have enough training in Alchemy that my explanation can be taken as definitive, but I believe if you consider it you will find it reasonably plausible, or even probable.

Next is Naming. Felurian tells us that there were "those who walked with their eyes open. they knew all the deep names of things.” but then says “mastery was not given. they had the deep knowing of things. not mastery." and soon after she gets to “then came those who saw a thing and thought of changing it. they thought in terms of mastery." This implies a significant difference between the Naming we see in the four corners, and the Naming in the world before the mortal fae split. Clearly the naming we see in the four corners is closer to the type of Naming from before the split than it is to shaping, but it is still more than simply knowing the names. It involves the command of things, but not the outright changing of one thing to another, new, different thing. Most of the discussion on the site seems to have framed the creation war as Namers vs Shapers, but I think we are making a mistake by doing so. I believe that Naming as we know it is separate from Knowing Names, but while I would like to provide more detail on this, I dont have enough to work with, so we must move on.

Finally we come to Shaping. Again we turn to Felurian's description “they were shapers. proud dreamers.” “and it was not all bad at first. there were wonders.” “the fruit was but the first of it. the early toddlings of a child. they grew bolder, braver, wild." "the faen realm.” “wrought according to their will. the greatest of them sewed it from whole cloth. a place where they could do as they desired." This has been taken by many to mean that they created the faen realm from nothing, but i believe the reader who proposed that the "whole cloth" the shapers used was in fact a piece of the world, taken from the location on the map labeled as "The Reft". The person who proposed the theory pointed to the definitions of reft " To seize and carry off forcibly. To deprive (one) of something. To break or tear apart. To take away by or as by force". If you accept that the Fae was created from a part of the world, then you can reasonably conclude that other things that were created by shapers were created from some form of raw materials as well. This brings us to the question of "HOW" things were created from raw materials. We know it is in many ways similar to, but more advanced than(for lack of a better term) Naming, but I propose that it is in fact ALCHEMY WITH AND OF NAMES!!! Think about it. If Alchemy is breaking things down into their component "principles" and recombining them to form something new, doesn't it follow that Shaping, which we know involves changing things that already exist into things that didnt exist, would be like an extension of Alchemy using Names?

Now think about it in terms of what was likely to have come first. Yes, Shaping probably came first. Alchemy is the watered down remnant of the once great Magic of Shaping. Deprived of its greatest power by the fact that so few can master the power of Names, Alchemy lives on, a sad little reflection of the greatness it once was.

Now I would like to make you think about something else. During the ceremony when Elodin promotes Fela to Re'lar he says

“Long ago, this was a place where people came to learn secret things. Men and women came to the University to study the shape of the world.”“In this ancient University, there was no skill more sought after than naming. All else was base metal. Namers walked these streets like tiny Gods. They did terrible, wonderful things, and all others envied them." “Only through skill in naming did students move through the ranks. An alchemist without any skill in naming was regarded as a sad thing, no more respected than a cook. Sympathy was invented here, but a sympathist without any naming might as well be a carriage driver. An artificer with no names behind his work was little more than a cobbler or a smith.

If Shaping is the Alchemy of and with Names, and "An alchemist without any skill in naming was regarded as a sad thing, no more respected than a cook." Doesnt this imply that during the time period Elodin is describing, the university was teaching at least the basics of what you needed to know for Shaping? There has been a lot of speculation that the phrase above the door to the archives translated in the book by Will as “The desire for knowledge shapes a man,” could in fact mean something like "With knowledge and desire a man can shape". If the university actually taught the basics of Shaping at some time, the implications are quite profound.

TL:DR I should totaly be at least an elir.
72. Valyrian
I've recently thought of this reread and was pleasantly surprised to see that it's still going on! You guys are awesome, and many thanks to Jo in particular for continuing with these semi-regular posts. I'm currently re-reading the reread (we have to go deeper), there's just so much I've forgotten.

@71: Rogerdodge
Well, personally I would strongly object to the idea that "Shaping" is its own form of magic. This is something that gained a life of its own over the course of this reread (and maybe speculation elsewhere?) with very little textual evidence, at least as far as I'm aware. The way I see it, Naming refers to all magic that requires the knowledge of someone's or something's deep or true name to affect it. Everything else is a philosophical distinction.

During the Creation War at least, shapers were Namers who wanted to use their knowledge of something's true name to change its nature (like creating silver apples), while knowers were content to only know the true names of things. Felurian describes the distinction in terms of mastery, but we are not sure where mastery begins and whether the manipulation of an object without changing its nature already constitutes mastery, and whether the knowers would permit something like that.

That's the really interesting question imo, because it could have implications on the story as a whole. Is the "magic" practised by Selitos, Lyra or Aleph actually Naming in these sense of shaping, even though most theories revolve around them being on the knower side of the war? Is the university actually teaching the shaper philosophy more than the knower philosophy? This could be a hint that there's something to the Creation War story we don't yet know or understand.

Personally, I don't think it has to be that strict, and that not all naming is either shaping or knowing. Or maybe even more likely, that this philosophical conflict is mostly forgotten in Kvothe's days, with remnants of the philosophy behind the right way to use Naming being in the Adem philosophy of the Lethani.

I also find the theory interesting that the creation of the Fae left behind the Reft, which is something I haven't read here before. But I still think it's more likely that the phrase "made from whole cloth" implies that the Fae was made without using material from the Mortal.
John Graham
73. JohnPoint
Rogerdodge @71, re "whole cloth" and the Reft:

We've discussed the possibility that creation of the Fae caused the Reft (e.g., robocarp @105 on Speculative Summary 15). As I point out in comment 149 on the same thread, Pat definitely uses the term "whole cloth" to mean a completely new creation. As such, I think it is very unlikely that the creation of the Fae came from the Reft.

Re types of magic in the story:

Your breakdown of sympathy and sygaldry being, essentially, watered down forms of Naming jives with my impression of how they work. I hadn't thought much about alchemy (since we don't know much about it...), but you could be on to something there... Interesting speculation. In general, I'm in agreement with Valyrian @72 -- the differences between Naming and Shaping are probably more differences in philosophy rather than differences in kind.
Carl Banks
74. robocarp
Rings Unseen @ 70

The man who made Kvothe's lute case said that "the lady objected to brass" for the clasps, so he made them out of fine steel (probably meaning stainless steel). This jumps out as a superfluous detail to me, making me wonder what.

RogerDodge @ 71 et al

I was the one who came up with the "Faen was taken from the Reft" theory, and I don't think it's reasonable (except see below). I wasn't familiar with the "whole cloth" idiom when I posted it. I took "whole cloth" to mean "as opposed to nothing", whereas in the idiom "whole cloth" means "as opposed to used or tattered cloth". There is really no way to reconcile the correct meaning of the idiom with the Shapers stealing the Reft. At best, the Shapers might have taken a pristine, unsullied land (like the Eld, which does seem to have more Faerie activity than most parts... hmm), but one of my arguments was that the Faen realm still contains features that existed before the land was stolen, like a stone road and tilled farmland, that are kind of out of place in the Faen.

So, no, "whole cloth" really means the Shapers created it out of thin air, unless PR was playing with the words. Which is not entirely impossible. Another fellow proposed a similar theory were Shapers stole a 2-D slice of land, folded it (like cloth), hid it in a container (like, say, a bag), then unfolded it to create the Faen realm. The unfolding part connects it to the Jax story. So this could be a very subtle wordplay at work here, but I'd only be inclined to believe it if there were other examples of Faerie creatures misusing human idioms.
75. Valyrian
I think the unfolding of the house is only metaphorical, but interesting idea. I also doubt that PR would deliberately misdirect through an incorrect use of an idiom. That seems cheap.

Talking about the unfolding house, what do you guys make of the scene where Jax tries to unfold the house within the hermit's cave? I suppose the interpretation depends on with whom you identify the hermit.

My opinion is that the hermit only represents knowers in general and no particular person from another story. In that case I see two possible interpretations:
- Iax/the shapers tried to create the Fae (or something like it) in within their common community with the knowers, and the scene represents the knowers reaction to their plan (hinting at their eventual conflict as described by Felurian)
- Iax/the shapers first tried to create something similar to what is now Fae within the mortal world (= domain of the knowers, analogous to the cave which is the domain of the hermit), and were rebuked by the knowers which motivated them to create a new world

Both comes down to an eventual conflict with the knowers of course. Also interesting is the fact that Jax could not fold the house together again. This could mean that something went wrong in this first attempt (whatever the context), causing trouble in the future. It could also mean that the shapers couldn't stop now that they've begun "unfolding" the Fae.

But I'm sure you can get something else out of this if you think the hermit is Selitos and/or the Cthaeh.

I've written a post on this long ago which was covered in one of the summary posts, Te Rhintae or Tinker Tanner I think. I agree that it's suspicious. Off the top of my head we see brass in the following scenes:
- Kote being oddly specific about his barrels
- Denna being oddly specific about the lute case
- Denna specifically wondering if there could be brass magnets (magnets, how do they work - we have no idea)
76. Rings Unseen
Also noticed: in WMF Interlude - the Thrice Locked Chest, Kvothe "locked the front door with a large brass key." Keys and locks normally match, so the door lock is probably brass too. Also, here is an idea for what all the brass/copper is about: Copper somehow negates naming. Perhaps one of the reasons that Kvothe is hiding in an inn with all this copper and changing his name is that someone has discovered his name; maybe Denna, maybe the chandrian, maybe someone else entirely. This would probably prevent/ hinder someone from naming him, or stop them from finding out his name as it changes. This has probably been suggested as a reason for him to become Kote, and to me it seems the most likely; why change your entire self instead of just hiding unless someone had naming power over you?

Also, slightly irrelevantly (but in a similar vein), I believe that the "ring without a name" from this poem

"There were rings unseen on his second hand: one was blood in a flowing band. One of air all whisper thin. And the ring of ice had a flaw within. Full faintly shone the ring of flame. And the final ring was without name."

...Is a ring of copper. Which cannot be named, and messes with naming. I don't know whether this somehow could mean that Kvothe has naming mastery over copper? Thats what the others indicate... but if so, that would be fairly badass.

Some other thoughts:
Why copper? I kinda doubt that Rothfuss just went "eeny meeny miney mo" to decide on his funky antinaming metal. Is it because of its association with industry? Probably not, because its a natural substance, but meh.

Also, I think Kvothe has a knack. For breaking into locks. Just from rereading WMF, I've noticed it twice.
1) End of Chapter 13, "the Hunt." Kvothe & co and waiting to get into Elodin's class. The door is closed, Kvothe gets frustrated, and "tried the door to the lecture hall. At first the handle didn't move at all, but when I jiggled it in frustration, the latch turned and the door opened a crack. "Thought it was locked," Inyssa said, frowning."
2) Chapter 93, "Mercenaries all." Kvothe & the mercenaries have retrieved the lockbox containing the tax collecters money. They all take turns to open it, and fail. Then Kvothe "shouted "Edro!" in my best Taborlin the Great voice and struck the top of the box with my hand. The lid sprung open... What had obviously happened is that one of them had actually tripped the lock, but the lid had been stuck."

The same excuse twice. Kvothe show aptitude in lockbreaking various other times ie. Master Hemmes rooms, Ambroses rooms, and probably more. Locks are something of a motif for Kvothe, and for a knack, I believe this would be very innkeeping (pardon the pun) with his character. Thoughts???
77. Valyrian
How could I forget about the brass key? Most important of these I think.

And I came to the same conclusion about the ring without name back then.

I think Rothfuss chose copper because it's usually the first elementary metal people think of after iron, silver and gold, which already feature prominently in various real-life myths. So I suppose he built on that and invented magical properties for copper too.

Another thing that Kvothe was good at opening is the sailor's knots on his way home from Severen, while he was bad at tying them. This connects to both his frustrations with Yllish later on and the knot in Hespe's story which kind of contained Pandora's box as far as the Creation War was concerned.
Sahi Rioth
78. Sahirioth
@76, 77 - re: Kvothe's knack

Perhaps no lock can withstand the touch of a Lockless?
79. Rogerdodge
my rebuttal to john point and robocarp...

I read the article you linked to in your other post(thank you for including the location in the reread) and i see why you came to the conclusion you did. I agree it is a reasonable interpretation, but i disagree with it anyway. :) I take his usage to mean that she is not a copy of someone else, but was created from his imagination. That may seem like the same thing, but give me a chance to make my case. When a tailor makes a garment from whole cloth, it means they are using new fabric from a factory instead of their scaps or pieces of rejected designs. I know at this point you are thinking to yourself that that is the same as what you said, but it isn't. Your argument is that the shapers created the Fae realm out of nothing, but a tailor doesnt create a suit out of nothing, he creates it from raw materials in the form of whole cloth. See the difference? Either way the creation is new, but it still uses raw materials. In the example from Rothfuss the raw material is his imagination. A somewhat insubstantial raw material to be sure, but still not nothing, and quite appropriate for a character that still really only exists inside his imagination(and the books).

Now lets consider the difference between what we have been refering to as the Fae realm and what the Fae realm actualy consists of. Most of the conversation about the Fae realm has focused on the land and the features of the land. The fae realm is actually more than that as it includes the space around the land. This space is not infinite. It has to be big enough to accomodate the distance between the planet and the moon,(i have some estimates of this) and may actually be large enough to include some part of the sun, but we cannot be sure about the second part(only once does Kvothe refer to the light on the day side as "sunlight", every other time it is refered to as "daylight" but it still seems plausible that actual sunlight might somehow be allowed into the Fae realm).

We return to Felurians description of the creation of Fae.

“wrought according to their will. the greatest of them sewed it from whole cloth. a place where they could do as they desired. and at the end of all their work, each shaper wrought a star to fill their new and empty sky.”

This implies that the creation of the space that is the extent of the Fae realm was a cooperative effort, but each shaper made their own star? These can't be what we think of as stars. If they could make their own actual stars, then making a moon would have been trivial. But they didnt make a moon, the greatest of them stole it. And he couldnt do it well enough to make it stay. Does that sound like someone with the power to make an actual star? I say no.

We also know that " If you keep walking in one direction long enough, you will eventually see a whole “day” pass and end up in the same place you began." This means the Fae "planet" is a sphere. Since Kvothe tells us that he "walked for the better part of an hour as the sky above me slowly brightened into full daylight" we can estimate the size of the Fae "planet". How long would you say it takes to go from "full daylight" to "twilight" on earth? 1/2 an hour? an hour? 1/2 an hour is 7.5 degrees of rotation, 1 hour is 15 degrees of rotation for the earth.
If it takes the same number of degrees of travel around the fae to equal the same effect, then using the average walking speed of 3.1 miles an hour gives us a circumference of 74.4-148.8 miles for the surface of the fae realm. wow.
Imre to Tarbean takes a whole day by way of a 2 horse fetter cart, but its 4 days by caravan from Tarbean to Imre. I wish I knew how to reconcile that to actual miles so I could estimate the size of the reft, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if it were just about big enough to form a sphere between 75 and 150 miles in diameter even without being very deep....

I think the "whole cloth" that the shapers used was part of the very universe itself, the fabric of spacetime. They cut and folded a piece of spacetime(we KNOW time acts differently in the fae realm than it does outside) to make a place for their Fae realm, then they took a piece of the planet they lived on to make their own planet inside their universe. After it was done, the Knowers hoped that the shapers would be satisfied to just play in their own world, not risking any further damage to the larger universe, but then Iax stole the moon. The moving of the moon between universes would likely put quite a strain on both universes, we know its pull drags the fae realm and the mortal realm closer to each other at certain times. It is possible that more such modifications to space time could result in the destruction of everything. Stopping that certainly seems like a reason to go to war.
80. Rings Unseen
This could suggest that knacks can be passed down by family- it seems too much of a coincidence that the family was called lockless only to have the knack manifest in a descendant millenia since they got their name. Well, aside from having their lockless door.
81. Valyrian
@79 Rogerdodge:
I think you're grasping at straws with the whole cloth thing. Looking at the wiktionary definition:

1. A newly made textile which has not yet been cut.
2. The fictitious material from which complete fabrications, lies with no basis in truth, are made.
3. Something made completely new, with no history, and not based on anything else.

It seems obvious that Rothfuss is going for the third meaning here because Felurian is neither talking about literal cloth nor about lies and fabrications (although the second meaning is also interesting in this context, considering everyone's disinformation campaigns about the events surrounding it). Or put another way, the previous world is old cloth. Fae is new cloth.

Other than that, I don't think approaching Fae or its creation from a physics or astronomy point of view leads us anywhere. Not that it isn't interesting, but Rothfuss doesn't strike me as the sort of writer with the necessary sci-fi mindset to think about stuff like this. So does the fact that you can walk around Fae in every direction and come back to where you started imply that it's a sphere? Maybe! Is making a star harder than the moon? I don't see why we should disbelieve Felurian here. In the Fae, stars don't have to be distant suns, they could be tiny lights not further away than the moon.

Fae is a magical world created precisely for the purpose to have anything you could think of. It doesn't have to make sense.
82. Rogerdodge
My sort-of Rebuttal to Valyrian
I understand your points, and I cant say they are completely without merrit regarding the whole cloth part of my theory. My counterpoint would be that since we know Rothfuss is so careful with his choice of words and their meanings that we should give serious consideration to what else could have happened to give the Reft its name, if not the forcible removal of a large portion of the world. I can think of a few things that could maybe result in a name like that, but none of them seem very likely given what we know of the world.

One last point I think we should cover on the subject. Felurian is NOT a shaper. She didn't participate in the making of the Fae realm, so while it may have seemed to her that it was its own completely new creation if that was what she meant, Felurian really wouldn't have all the information to be a definitive source. She lived through the period of time, she certainly knows more about it than anyone else we can point to in the book, but that doesnt mean she is completely reliable as a narrator. oops, I meant source of info....

As far as the stars being tiny lights not farther away than the moon, that is exactly what I was trying to convey when I suggested that making real stars was beyond their ability, and when I suggested that the space that contains the fae planet only needed to be large enough to encompass fae, the moon, and maybe part of the sun. I didn't mean to imply Felurian was lying or mistaken about the shapers making stars.

I think you are probably right about Rothfuss not trying to make everything relating to fae work from a physics standpoint, he certainly didnt make anything else magical work from a physics standpoint(although Sympathy is closer than any other magic I have come across before), but I do think he had a very specific idea of how the fae realm came to be. I dont think he worked out a way for the moon to have always been full before it was stolen, or how the stealing of the moon affected the tides(sorry Jo), but that doesnt mean WE cant figure out a way to make it work. I already did figure out a way to make the moon work the way described, but im keeping it secret for now, unless Jo wants to promote me to El'the for the answer. If Joe will give me El'the, I will even throw in an approximate tide chart. :)
Jeremy Raiz
83. Jezdynamite
A few things bother me about the question of Kvothe having a knack for opening things.

He has shown that he is unable to open:
(1) his own chest
(2) the loeclos box
(3) the four plate door
(4) the drainage gate leading to the underthing
84. Valyrian
Okay, I agree that Felurian isn't a reliable source of information either. But her account is the only information we have on a couple of subjects (such as the shaper/knower divide), and doubt of her story shouldn't be replaced by complete speculation.

I also agree that the name of the Reft is unaccounted for so far and given how sparsely labeled the map is it might have some significance. On the other hand, many places of significance aren't on the map and many of those that are probably won't be visited in the KKC (I'm thinking Ralien and Cershaen, though I'm still curious about Hallowfell).

As far as I'm aware, nobody here have been made El'the so far (although I can think of a couple of posters that deserve it, I think everyone knows who I'm talking about). I don't even know if Jo is still promoting people. But in general my advice would be not to try to force the issue. I'm tempted to repeat Elodin's words about not grabbing at tits, but it feels a bit inappropriate in this context :)
85. Rogerdodge
We already saw Kvothe go to Hallowfell. That was where Ben left the troup. I believe that Rothfuss has said that Ralien, Cerashen, Tarbean, and Renere are the cities that are considered the four corners of civilization, but I dont remember where I saw that.
Jo Walton
86. bluejo
Valyrian: I am still promoting people, though rarely.

Looking at my master list, on paper in a notebook no less, I can tell you that two people are El'the -- Thistlepong and GBrell. And now I think about it, I believe Steven Halter should also be raised into those exalted ranks.

I fully intend to do a post on the cards for this week.
87. Valyrian
@85. rogerdodge:
Sure, I was only trying to say that not every location on the map needs to have plot or backstory significance. And it seems odd that Hallowfell is on the map, but Severen isn't (even if Ben left the troupe there), so I'm expecting it to become important again in some way. It just has such an evocative name not to.

@86. bluejo:
These are exactly the people I had in mind. Good to know they have made / will make it to El'the, it's well deserved. Just don't be too harsh with their tuition :)
88. dozier
@76 why copper?
i had a theory that the moon is composed of different metals than our moon, and when iax stole it, it created a weird effect on copper and iron. if we believe that fae was created from the reft, then maybe this same transformation was attempted on the moon and altered its properties? especially if alchemey is some sort of watered down version of shaping (which is interesting but i'm not very convinced of), it seems plausible that if the moon were composed of mostly copper and iron, then maybe when iax stole it he also (probably accidently) shaped it, making it somehow harmful to namers and the fae.

1. he's not really kvothe anymore. we could assume that whatever's limiting his naming and fighting abilities are also hindering his knack.
2-3. don't have locks. but maybe it's like the sailor's knots; even though he can't knot them he knows how to in theory. so maybe he has to understand how a lock (or door, or box) works before he can open it. also, i'm pretty sure he'll open both in day 3
4. i'd have to re read this part but i think there were runes on it to keep it closed. and my impression of the magical heirachy is that naming/shaping>sympathy, alchemy, sygaldry> knacks.
89. Marco.
So.......the Auri book.
How many are going to read it vs. holding off until D3?
Are there concerns that things revealed about Auri may inadvertently spoil the Kvothe story?
91. Rings Unseen
I'm not too sure about the moon being the cause of the adverse effects of copper and iron... Somehow, I'd have thought it would have been sneakily mentioned in passing by now. It seems an odd thing to just pull out of the blue. But still, interesting idea.

I agree with your summary of how he cannot affect the boxes, the grate etc. However, I was also thinking that maybe Kvothes knack could be disassembling things. Think the sympathy clock that he has, dismantles, and cannot repiece. This would be pretty intense, and if chandrian signs are knack enhancement, and Kvothe somehow gets into a position similar to the chandrian, he would be entropy man. This is pretty unsubstanciated, but it would be pretty cool, and it would be the reason Haliax needs him. Haliax wants to end everything, create a final silence, and who would be better to help him than the man with the entropic knack? Also, the copper in the waystone could potentially be a way of preventing his knack from dissolving the inn. I'm not entirely convinced by this idea, but I think it would be pretty interesting, and a good reason for Haliax letting him live.
Kate Hunter
92. KateH
So.......the Auri book. How many are going to read it vs. holding off until D3?
Hold off...? Wha? I see your lips moving but I have no idea what you're trying to say. In seriousness, it would never in a million years occur to me to delay reading anything PR writes. Surely his record of not giving out spoilers speaks for itself. If there are facts, insights, stories or whatever included in the Auri story, then they are part of Pat's vision of the 4C world and his plan for the narratives that play out there. I can't believe that he would put out a story which in any way diminishes or spoils Kvothe's story.
Carl Banks
93. robocarp
It occurs to me that the Auri book might be a way to keep the page count of D3 down. Since Auri lives in the Underthing, and the Underthing probably has Creation-War-era structures and relics, it could contain some revelations from that era that now wouldn't have to be covered in D3.

So maybe by holding off you are actually going againt the plan.
Tricia Irish
94. Tektonica
I agree, KateH.@92: PR would not discuss the KKC at JCon AT ALL. He was terrified of leaking a spoiler. Therefore, I can't imagine there's anything in the Auri book that would spoil Book 3. I for one, can't wait!
Jeremy Raiz
95. Jezdynamite
Another example of a locked door that Kvothe should really have been able to open if he had a knack.

Kvothe and Elodin were stuck on the roof of the archives because the key Elodin stole was blown off the roof. Surely, with or without a knack, Kvothe would have tried opening that locked door, and saved himself being stuck naked on a wet roof all night.

Unless Kvothe's knack relies on him needing tools to open a locked door. Which in my mind, goes against the argument of him having a knack.
Patrick Stultz
96. Audion
re Kvothe's Knack

I don't think any of the examples are good reasonos he can't have a knack for opening locks or knots or other things. Remember he's been supprised whenever it's happened, so he probably doesn't realize he has it.

So with regard to the door on top of the library, Kvothe probably didn't think to try and open it. He didn't smack it with his hand and say Erdo! Would it have opened if he had?

The 4 Plate Door is obviously warded against such small things such as knacks. It might help, but it needs more than that. So is the Gate down to the Underthing.

His Chest, well as someone else mentioned Kote isn't Kvothe. And his resignation was palpable when even saying Erdo didn't work.

As for the lockless box, again if he'd have said "erdo" and tried to open it.. would it have popped open? Or does it require some other trick to it?

All just thoughts, hope it didn't come off as being rude. I do that sometimes. :)
97. Rings Unseen
The thing is, Kvothe never tried to open that door. It says the wind blew their clothes and the key over the edge of the archives; why would he try to open the door without tools or key if he knew that they had locked it? Also, knacks are not fully passive. There has to be some interaction between the person and object, whether purposeful or unintentional. For example, Trip does not roll sevens unless he interacts somehow with the outcome of the die; knocking the table, betting on the die, rolling it himself. The man who grew the large fruits did not just sit next to them - he would have done all the gardening things, and his interaction made the fruit grow larger than anyone elses. It stands to reason that Kvothe would only be able to open a lock if he tried to, by pushing the door, trying the lock or otherwise.

Also, it seems that this knack is why he made the thrice locked chest. At the end of WMF, during the chapter "locks," he tries to open the chest. He uses the keys, then just attempts to open the chest, by saying "Open, damn you. Edro." Since he does not try to use sympathy, naming or any other magic, and he is frustrated that it does not open, it seems that the chest was designed for his knack (so noone else could open it). This suggests that, along with his other magics, his knack has been barred from him during the frame.
98. Rings Unseen
Okay, just found something:
In the story Marten tells about Taborlin, King Scyphus, "the sorcerer king" captures Taborlin in a variation of the same story told at the very beginning of NOTW. We get further into this one; Taborlin calls the name of stone and breaks the cave wall, burns the door to the royal halls, confronts Scyphus. It details his cloak of no particular colour - very similar to the shaed. He opens the locked chest, as Kvothe would with what seems to be his lock opening knack. He gets his copper sword skyaldrin- it is noted that copper would not hold an edge well, but maybe it is an alchemical copper compound, which could also be what Adem swords are. We are cut off before Taborlin fights Scyphus. Now, there are two things that I believe are significant:

1)Scyphus is the sorcerer king, and Cyphus is a chandrian, named in the Adem Rhinta poem.

"Cyphus bears the blue flame"

This also corresponds to the version of the tale told by Old Cob at the beginning of NOTW, where the torch flame of Taborlin's prison are blue. Scyphus is a king, and it is stated in Shehyn's preface to the poem that each of the Chandrian executed a betrayal/corruption of their city, so perhaps Cyphus betrayed his city to the dark side. Muahahaha.

2) The second notable thing is the similarities between Kvothe and Taborlin. He seems to have all of the items that Taborlin does, excluding the staff. They both have an affinity with locks. they can name, and they have a temper. I am not saying that Kvothe is a reincarnation of Taborlin, but their stories are close parallels of eachother, and it is poetic that as Kvothe's story and reputation grow to the mythic level of Taborlin, their stories mirror. I for one will be incredibly suprised if Kvothe makes it through D3 without finding himself kidnapped by the chandrian, stripped of candle, key and coin, and having to name his way out of the situation.

Additional thoughts:
I think that Kvothe will spend awhile trying to find the chandrian, but will only find stuff on them through the Maer/ Amyr. Then, he will realise that he can make them come to him. He will compose a song/ discover his father's song on them, sing it, and be set upon by the chandrian. He will be kidnapped rather than killed, Taborlin situation above, except they will have copper through the walls (like the haven). Kvothe discovers the name of copper, the unameable name, thus obtaining the ring without a name. And it will be pretty epic.
Jo Walton
99. bluejo
I am going to read the Auri book the second I get hold of it. And then I'll write about it here in detail.

Meanwhile, right now I'm writing my post on the cards. So far, four paragraphs overanalysing the box. This may end up being more than one post!
Steven Halter
100. stevenhalter
I'll also be reading the Auri book right away. I'm not worried about any major spoilers for D3 in the Auri book.
Ryan Murray
101. TheYllest
With the discussion of Copper and its properties on naming in conjunction with the "ring without name," I have mentioned before, but it has been overlooked here, that Bast attributes "The creation of the Nameless" to the Cthaeh, and that this act is one of its most "catastrophic" acts along with speaking to Iax and Lanre before their respecitve destructive deeds as well as the "The Scaendyne" which seems like an archaic pronunciation of The Chandrian or The Seven.

If Copper is truly "Nameless" and this property is unique, then the Cthaeh and whatever its machinations may be seem to have had a direct influence over in its creation.

This begs the question: Why? I ascribe to the belief that regardless of what or who the Cthaeh is or used to be, that its actions are driven by some base motivation beyond wreaking havoc and destruction in the world. Doing so may in fact be a means to this end, but I sincerely doubt that chaos is the ultimate goal as you don't need to be an omnipotent oracle to wreak havoc. So again, why would the Cthaeh create a material (or shape its name in such a way) that renders a namer's power useless? This is not an easy question to answer or even speculate on given the distinct lack of evidence in this area, but I do not doubt that we can find a way.

Given what we think we know about naming and shaping (that they are essentially the same type of magic with differences of philosophy from which which most other "magics" are derived, i.e. symapthy, sygaldry, and perhaps alchemy), it would seem that the Cthaeh has some problem with these magics. It has been discussed that some clever sympathy with the Loeclos Box could be holding the Cthaeh prisoner in the tree, and that releasing a magic-proof substance into the world would ultimately result in its freedom. This is similar to the theory that it had Caesura forged with Kvothe in mind hundreds of generations later in hopes of attaining freedom.

Regardless of what you think motivates the Cthaeh (I happen to believe that he wants to pull the moon fully into the Fae by destroying the 4C world), its creation of "The Nameless" seems incredibly important to a world centered around the deep names of things and should not be overlooked when discussing potentially nameless things such as Copper.
thistle pong
102. thistlepong

You have to know that we won't mind multiple posts. Indeed, we'd be delighted. Thank you for continuing the series.

I'll be reading The Slow Regard of Silent Things when it comes out. Will we get an analyis of "The Lightning Tree" as well?

When he's written or spoken about the supplementary works, he's talked about the pleasure derived from exploring territories unseen in the primary text. My sense is that while they'll fill out the world, they won't bear directly on The Kingkiller Chronicle. They will, however, tend to answer certain questions we've asked that, for lack of a better phrase, are the wrong ones.

Jezdynamite @88/95

Great points. Iff there's a knack, those should be accounted for in some way. In the meantime, they represent an substantial counter-argument.


103. Valyrian
I totally would have missed the announcement of the new book if not for the posts here. I have a thesis to finish by the end of November, but a 30k words book can surely be crammed in there somehow. Already looking forward to the coverage here, finally some new material to tear apart with speculation. I'm also not worried about D3 spoilers, if anything I only expect the book to raise further questions about the 4C world. I take it the plot will take place before Auri meets Kvothe? Or maybe even inbetween? Will it be in first person perspective? If the last two are true we could gain an interesting perspective on K.

(The Slow Regard of Silent Things is an amazing title. And it has silence in it!)

Also, I didn't know that Rothfuss and Vi Hart are friends. Two of my favorite people are friends, awesome.

@91. Rings Unseen:
I like the bit about the disassembled clock. It's the perfect imagery about what Kvothe did to the world as a whole, tearing it apart looking for answers, and now he doesn't know how to make it whole again.

@101. The Yllest:
The Nameless seem to be very important to me as well, with all the weight that is given to Names in the story, but I have seen very little speculation on them. Unfortunately, that's probably because we don't have much to go on. The Cthaeh is said (I still don't trust Bast's view on it) to be responsible for their creation, but without knowing its motives, that doesn't help much. They're apparently something terrible though, which is in line with Elodin's reaction to losing your name.

Scaendyne = Chandrian is also interesting, my association was more some kind of Fae creature like Scrael (it also sounds a bit like skindancer). Or maybe it's some kind of event, even?

Some thoughts on Hallowfell, even though the Department of Imaginary Linguistics (wait, it's English this time) has already grazed this pasture:

hallow is something that's holy or sanctified
fell has multiple possible meanings, but after hearing the story of Tehlu and Encanis, I tended to prefer "make fall, kill"

My first thought was that's it's the place where Tehlu killed Encanis, but at least Trapis's story tells us explicitly that it happened in Atur (the city). But what if that's Aturan propaganda? The church was an instrument of their empire, so they had quite the motivation to make their capital an important religious center. We do know the Commonwealth is a breakaway from the Aturan Empire, but were they previously conquered or "native" Aturans? In any case, Aturan control over the area could be motivated by the Tehlin church or the Amyr trying to rewrite that part of history.

(Obvious weak point of this theory is that the name wouldn't be such an obvious hint to this story, unless it stuck in Tehlin sects and was adopted again when the Aturan Empire fell apart.)

Another possibility is that the fell refers to the city itself. Hallowfell = "something hallowed that fell". Could it be the site of Caluptena?

fell can also mean malicious and is often used to mean "demonic" in modern fantasy. I'm at a loss for a potential meaning though. What in the story is both holy and malicious/demonic? The Amyr? The Chandrian?

A bit more out there, I believe the Borrorill story was specifically set up to make us look for linguistic corruption. So maybe hallow = hollow? Like a barrow? If we borrow, this potential meaning, could it be that we have to look for our barrow king in Hallowfell?
104. Valyrian
I still can't wrap my ahead around the idea that Pat and Vi know each other and spend nights talking about their respective crafts. How I wish I could be part of the kind of conversation they have! I also read the post about how they first got into contact, so adorable.

I am also imagining Auri like Vi now.

(I'm sorry, this is rather off topic.)
Jo Walton
105. bluejo
3 posts on the cards written and lined up for the next 3 weeks. The first is the box -- no seriously, I wrote an entire post about the box -- and the others are two suits each.

I'll write about the "The Lightning Tree" if there's anything to say... I haven't been able to write about "Old Holly" despite being asked to (and buying it specuially) because there wasn't anything to say other than "that was a long poem and you took the line breaks out" and "Huh?" It left me compltely baffled. So I've promised to write about "The Lightning Tree" if I can, and fairly soon. And the same goes for the Auri story.

And my desire for D3 is not growing any less.
John Graham
106. JohnPoint
Jo @105: Yay! Looking forward to the new posts. I guess that I'll have to take a closer look at the box and cards before Thursday... haven't had a chance to do so since they arrived a couple of weeks ago.

I expect that both Lightning Tree and Slow Regard will have plenty to analyze. As others have mentioned, they probably won't directly relate to the KKC story itself, but I expect they'll reveal quite a bit about the world and the two characters. (For instance, they might put to rest the question about whether Auri is human or Fae, and we might see Remmen which would answer the "is Kvothe Bast's father" question etc.)

Re Old Holly: perhaps in one of the threads, we could open speculation about the story. I know that several other have some ideas about how it fits, and I have a few thoughts myself.
107. Ryan H
It would be great to get an 'Old Holly' thread, if only to see all the crazy ideas that would get bounced around. Yeah, it's cryptic as hell, but that's half the fun.
Jo Walton
108. bluejo
Ryan: I can't do a post saying "Old Holly: Huh?" There may be a fair amount of me scratching my head and looking stupid and relying on the brilliance of other people around here, but not quite that much!
109. Ryan H
I dare you to do a post that is exactly that :)
Steven Halter
110. stevenhalter
We did have some disscussion of "Old Holly" back in Speculative Summary 20. The consensus being somewhere between, "Well that was interesting" and "What??"
Kate Hunter
111. KateH
Jo, it's not that we don't all appreciate what you do and what you bring to these conversations. But it's also not the case that we would require thesis level analysis and critique from you in order to discuss any particular aspect of the 4C world. I think the participants here would hit the ground running if you simply posted "How Old Holly Came to Be. Discuss."
112. Marco.
I should have been more precise RE: spoilers.

I have no doubts that Rothfuss will avoid slipping a line in about what happens to Kvothe, or his exploits, - you know, the big blinking light spoilers.

However, one of my favorite things about Auri is the mystery that surrounds her - is she the missing princess? Is she of the Fae? We just don't know.

To be clear: I'm sure I'll cave and read it when it comes out. But a little piece of me will be disappointed if after reading that book we're able to figure out who she is before D3.
Ryan Murray
113. TheYllest
How Old Holly Came to Be:

There is so much there, but I find it difficult to really analyze because of its density, pacing, and ambiguity. It touches many nerves on things from KKC but doesn't follow up with the necessary depth or description for a true dissection.

The Tower, The Holly, Singing/Shaping/Naming, Repeated romantic motif from KKC (Lanre/Lyra, Savien/Aloine, Kvothe/Denna), battle with shadow creature/Haliax.

That being said, I'd be in favor of a post to throw out some of my 'Holly' material I have kept wrapped up in case it got its own forum.

Jo, I can't wait for the card posts. Thanks for doing all of this.
Jo Walton
114. bluejo
You only get the posts I can write, not the ones I can't.

Also, Yllest, I just realised I don't have you written down in my list of members of the Arcanum, so if I didn't already promote you, you are E'lir.

And, if you want to write a nice long quotable comment on Old Holly to spark a thread, I'll see what I can do. (But it won't be until after the card posts, the first of which should go up Thursday.)
116. Sue Munro
I just discovered this blog, and instead of eating and taking care of myself for the past 24 hours, I've been hungrily consuming speculative summary after speculative summary. (Forgive me if anything I bring up here has been mentioned already in past threads; as I said, I only just discovered the blog.) I just finished my (tenth? fifteenth?) reread of NotW, and I have a couple of thoughts.

1) On the subject of the Kvothe/Kote Name discrepancy, there has been a lot of speculation that he has either broken his Alar, or used it to seal a part of himself off. I believe that yes, he used his Alar to split his own mind, as has been mentioned here before. Jo's theory that he has sealed the V and H in the thrice-locked chest, however, I disagree with, because though he starts as Kote, he becomes Kvothe in the frame as he remembers himself, through telling the story.

'The man who called himself Kote looked up from behind his bottles. A full-lipped smile played about his mouth. A spark was kindling behind his eyes. He seemed taller.
"Yes, I suppose I am," Kvothe said, and his voice had iron in it.' (Ch 6, NotW)

From that point on, in the frame, he is referred to as Kvothe, not Kote. It is only at the end of NotW, when customers come into the Waystone and interrupt his telling of the story, that he becomes Kote again, seeming almost startled into it by the sudden arrival of Jake, Old Cob, etc. But he is Kote only briefly, as soon after he becomes Kvothe again with the entrance of the skindancer, and he's referred to as such even when he fails to light it on fire using sympathy.

Once I reread WMF again, I'll pay more close attention to the differences between Kvothe/Kote in the frame, but for the most part during NotW he is Kvothe as he's telling the story. That's why I don't think the V and H of his name are trapped in the thrice-locked chest; it seems more likely to me that the part of himself that was the hero of the story he tells - Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane - has been split off, possibly using his own Alar to do so.

It seems to me that if the V and H were locked away in the chest, he wouldn't be able to access them, but if he were hidden from himself in his own subconscious, it would make sense that sometimes his true self could float to the surface.

I think I remember reading somewhere that Kvothe (in the frame) has trouble sleeping; this could support the idea that he has walled off part of himself, because the mental strain of constantly using his Alar would surely disrupt his ability to rest. I imagine it would be like constantly doing advanced arithmetic problems in your head at the same time as doing everything else (speaking, thinking, eating, working), from the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep (and possibly during sleep as well).

Why would he split away a part of himself and wall it off? I suppose we'll have to see that in D3.

2) On Denna, and her surreal characterization: all of the other characters in the story have dimension, and act, as many have said, "humanly"; whereas Denna seems not to. This could be due to two things. My husband's theory is that due to Kvothe's intense attraction to her, and the fact that he was 15-17 at the time he's speaking about and therefore was full of intense hormonal emotion, his memory of her may be clouded or coloured, and his telling of how she acts and who she is may not be entirely true to how it was. In this theory, Kvothe may have a Denna-shaped smudge in his eidetic memory - not a hole, but a blurring, a looseness. This could account for why she alone, of all the characters he remembers so perfectly, acts unnaturally.

This theory, taken further, argues that Denna could simply be a (somewhat manipulative) 16- or 17-year-old girl, toying with a young Kvothe's emotions, enjoying his attention and the singularity of his attraction to her; and that really, there was nothing special about her at all, except to Kvothe. He even mentions this in the text, when describing her at the Eolian: "...That she was beautiful, through to her bones, despite any flaw or fault. She was beautiful, to Kvothe at least. At least? To Kvothe she was most beautiful." (Ch 57, NotW).

This description of her - in fact, that whole chapter, of Kvothe's frustration at not being able to describe her - supports this theory most of all, to me. That Bast, who saw her once, describes her ears as perfect, but her nose as crooked, and that she was pretty, but her face was narrow, and she was not a perfect beauty (as Kvothe often - always - describes her). Bast says: "All the women in your story are beautiful." (Ch 57, NotW). This calls into question Kvothe's memory - not the general shape of how things happened, of course, but small details such as that. And it's true: nearly all of the women Kvothe meets, he describes as beautiful. (For someone with such a talent for Naming, you would think that he could wax a little more eloquent on the subject; but I won't hold that against him.) So perhaps his fondness for Denna, and his tendency to remember her fondly, have coloured her nature in the story.


The other factor that could be causing her surreality is that she is something other than human - or at least, has some influence on her that is Other (Faen, angelic, what have you). Personally I like the theory that she slips into Fae periodically, and that is why she seems so young but has managed to acquire so much knowledge and high education (regarding plays and things), and explains the time discrepancy between when she meets Kvothe on the road to Imre and when she meets him again at the Eolian. (There have been several references made to it feeling like a very long time between their meetings there, especially for Denna.)

This could also explain her and Kvothe's game of speaking to each other in rhyming couplets; it mirrors Felurian's speech, and supports Denna being Fae-touched, as people often also say of Kvothe. Kvothe talks to many other musicians, but no one else speaks in rhymes.

I also love and am delighted by the theory that Denna's past could parallel Kvothe's, only on the other side of the coin that is the Chandrian and the Amyr. That at a young age, her family was killed or suffered some tragedy, but at the hands of the Amyr instead of the Seven. It evokes a wonderful sense of the doomed romance, shot through with irony and betrayal, that is also woven throughout the story (Lanre/Lyra, Savien/Aloine). And that thought, of the slow dance of Kvothe and Denna as they move towards their ultimate ends that will inevitably clash, sounds to me like a beautiful game.
Sue Wilson Munro
117. Sue Munro
A third note: I don't think the king Kvothe killed was a poet. We heard Caesura described as the "poet-killer", but I think that's a simple misconstruance of its etymology as a "break in the line" of Eld Vintic verse. Someone heard 'caesura' and knew the rough translation of it as a break in a poem, which evolved into the premature end of a poem, or the killing of a poem. Language has a funny way of changing over time and through oral stories, as Pat is so fond of reminding us, and this interpretation was my first and only instinct upon reading "Kaysera, the poet-killer". I don't think it has anything to do with the slain king.
jum bles
118. jumbles
I'll take Jo's comment as an invitation to write about Old Holly here. Please don't read this comment if you don't want the story spoiled. The following isn't organized very well and is sort of a stream of consciousness while rereading the story.

(Moderator note: whited out spoilers. Roll over to see spoilers.)

First, there's a lot of opinion in the story. Everything is good or bad or both or neither. It's not explicitly stated who's opinions these are, but I'm certain that the opinions are supposed to be Holly's. At first the only things that were good were good for Holly's survival and the only things that were bad were bad for Holly's survival. Then things that were neither good nor bad before are suddenly good or bad because Holly cares about the Lady. This happens just after she sings for the first time.

One confusing thing is the wind. First it is neither good nor bad. Then it was beautiful after the Lady sang, which I guess means that she liked wind. Then it was bad while they were hiding from the wolves, birdmen, and shadow. I'm guessing it was bad because it made the Lady afraid with what it told her about those things.

The moon was light and dark. I don't really know what that means, but wherever they were had a moon.

There was a man who was light and dark. He said, showed, and sang to the Lady. I see this as a possible clue that El'the means "Singer." But then again I see conflicting clues about the meaning of El'the all over the place.

The Lady can be connected to all three groups that Haliax protects the Chandrian from. She makes a wreath of holly like the Sithe; she songs have power which I'm guessing is true for the singers; she gets blood on her hands like the Amyr. It makes me wonder if she's not an actual person, but symbolic of a side in a conflict. Though I suppose we have no proof that someone couldn't be a member of all three groups.

At first, Holly is always referred to as "the holly" (lowercase) and "it." After she sang, Holly was still called "the holly" but was no longer called "it" and things started being "his." Then "the holly" was replaced by "holly" (still lowercase except at the beginning of a sentence). Then after becoming bent he becomes "Holly." I'm guessing bending is being changed or shaped.

I'm guessing the Lady was a Namer since she seemed to learn by watching and listening to the stream, sky, and wind; and because her singing make me think of shaping. She could also be one of the Tahl since their songs are said to "heal the sick and make the trees dance" (WMFc38). Her songs seemed to let Holly move and possibly heal him before she left.

I'm guessing the "great black wolves, with mouths of fire" are draccuses (dracci?).

I'm guessing the men "bent halfway into birds" are the angels (Tehlu and company).

And the "shadow bent to look as if it were a man" could be Encanis or Haliax. I sort of doubt Encanis really existed, or at least that he was everything Trapis' story says he was. Old Holly considered the shadow to be worse than the angels, which I take as meaning more powerful. That's saying something if Encanis or Haliax was stronger than the angels, especially if Tehlu is included.

At times I think the Lady and shadow are Lyra and Haliax, but I think that's more me wanting it to be so than the evidence pointing to it. For one thing Skarpi said Lanre actually was a man, but the shadow only looks like a man so couldn't even be a skindancer inside Lanre.

It's interesting that Holly can beat a draccus (designed to eat trees), angels, and Encanis/Haliax.

I don't really know what the tower was. Maybe a city? Maybe the city that wasn't betrayed?

As for the man that was with the Lady. I'm guessing he was a namer/shaper/singer. Probably not Lanre since Lanre wasn't any of those things.

The story suggests Sithe/Amyr/singers vs skindancers/Chandrian/Angels, if not in all matters, then at least in one specific conflict.
jum bles
119. jumbles

1) You may find Kvothe's story of Sceop relevant here. Sceop couldn't remember his name at first, but then became his old self as he told his story. Kvothe may do the same thing.

2) I think there is a very good chance that Denna is working with the Chandrian. It was incredibly cold the day Denna met her patron in Imre for the first time. When Kvothe runs into Denna in Tarbean (WMFc147), it was dustier, dirtier, and smellier than he remembered it ever being. Also the Chandrian were at the Mauthen farm when Denna was. Possible Chandrian signs in all those places while Denna was there. And Denna visited Tinue, Vartheret, and Andenivan; cities that may be where Tinusa, Vaeret, and Antus were. The Chandrian betrayed those cities. And I think either Imre or Tarbean is where Belen used to be. Denna's been to both of those cities and Belen was also in the empire the Chandrian betrayed.
120. Ryan H
@ Sue Munro
Welcome to the party!
I like your thought reguarding the 'poet killer' name.

@ Jumbles
The idea of the symbology (holly, blood & song) defining the sides in the conflict is really interesting to me. Could the "shadow bent to look as if it were a man" be the skinwalkers?
Sue Wilson Munro
121. Sue Munro

My thought isn't that Denna is working with the Chandrian, but more that she is Kvothe's parallel between the Chandrian and the Amyr - that as Kvothe searches for the Amyr and finds clues to their purpose, and agrees with that purpose, Denna searches for...Lanre? Stories detailing the possible benevolence of the Seven? Clearly the stories she comes across (or is deliberately given access to) give different accounts than the ones Kvothe uncovers. I don't think she's working for the Chandrian - or at least, if she is, she doesn't know it.

Denna doesn't strike me as malicious; just cruel. (Cruel hereby defined as being simply part of her nature; as the tornado does not care that it rips up farmland and destroys crops, so does Denna casually slip her yokes and leave Kvothe behind. In the same way that a tempest is not mean or malicious, neither does Denna come off to me - just cruel.)
122. Rogerdodge
Connecting the dots between Denna, Bredon, the Chandrian, the bandits, the box, and poems

I dont doubt that many of you will dissagree with my reasoning, but I offer it anyway, since I havent seen anyone else connect all the dots together. To be clear, I do not claim these are all ideas I came up with on my own. Most of the pieces came from other people. I am just presenting them here together as a larger picture than I have seen them used in before.

In my continuing effort to join the Arcanum, I have scoured the vast majority(not all of it, but certainly the majority) of this reread, looking for clues to the secrets that will grant me entry. One of the things I find quite odd is the continued debate over Denna's patron. Many people have put forth very good evidence for Bredon being Denna's patron( i wont bother re-hashing them), and I am convinced by it. But some continue to insist that Cinder is master ash. I have read the arguements in his favor and find them unconvincing. But I do believe that Bredon is working with the Chandrian. Lets consider the evidence we do have. We know the Chandrian (Cinder specifically)work with the bandits in the eld. Many people have pointed out that it seems odd for the Chandrian to be wasting time killing tax men in the forest, but I think that is just part of their reason for being there.It seems it would be hard for Cinder to gather a group of mercenaries on his own. People would tend to react badly to someone with his unnatural eyes. But a wealthy noble who once dreamed of advancement in the court would be a great source of aid in setting something like that up. Why would Bredon be working with the Chandrian? Lets look at the poem Kvothe finds in the archives.

The Chandrian move from place to place,
But they never leave a trace.
They hold their secrets very tight,
But they never scratch and they never bite.
They never fight and they never fuss.
In fact they are quite nice to us.
They come and they go in the blink of an eye,
Like a bright bolt of lightning out of the sky.

They are quite nice to us??? Why is this the one time the Chandrian are referenced as being nice? Every other time they are referenced at all it is with fear. The Chandrian have a secret goal, and will do terrible things to achieve it. But sometimes you can get better results through cooperation with another party. The chandrian led armies. Is it such a leap to think that even after the fall of the empire and their being cursed, they would maintain a following of their most loyal servants, and their descendants? What do the allies of the chandrian get from it? Sometimes, large amounts of money. I suspect a large portion of the taxes that were not recovered went into the coffers of Bredon's family. Other times A noble might need things he or she cant get on their own without arousing suspicion from their peers. The chandrian can get them what they want, and nobody will believe the noble is involved, or even if they do, how could they possibly prove it? This could also explain the "pagan rituals" outside Bredon's northern estates....

This brings us to the box. What box? have you been paying any attention to the reread at all? The Leoclos box of course. I think attaining the Leoclos box was the primary goal of the Chandrian in the Eld. Many have put forth theories about the box, and the one that resonates most with me is that it contains the piece of Mountain glass(probably obsidian) that Selitos put out his eye with. We are told that Selitos bound Haliax by the power of is own blood. The blood that covered the stone he threw at Lanre/haliax's feet after he used the stone to put out his eye. Kvothe guesses that the Leoclos box holds "By the weight of it, perhaps something made of glass or stone.” This has been pointed to as reason to think it may be the stone selitos used. It has also been suggested that the blood on the stone is what actually maintains the binding and the curse on the Chandrian. If the stone is what is in the Leoclos box, and the blood on the stone is what binds and curses the Chandrian, then they have a very good reason to want the box. How does bieng a bandit in the eld get them closer to that? We are told the Lackless lands are to the north of Severen, so are the bandits. Is it so large a stretch to imagine that the road the bandits are near is the same road that Muluan would have to take to get to Severin? Why would they have been there so long ahead of time? If Bredon is working for the Chandrian, Why wouldnt he ask for something in return for the information of the Lackless heir traveling along a certain road during a certain period of time? He would also know that tax collectors were likely to use the road, and thus it becomes a simple suggestion, "if bandits are stealing taxes, nobody will think it odd that they kill the Lackless heir...." Certainly the assumption would be that the Lackless Heir would know exactly where the Leoclos box is and would give it up to save their own life.

This is the only explanation I have come up with that makes sense for the information presented. If anyone else has a theory that can account for all the data points, I would like to read it. It is of course possible that I missed it somewhere in the reread, since as I said, I haven't read all of it....
jum bles
123. jumbles

I don't think she would necessarily know she was working for the Chandrian. And also, I should reword my statement. I think there's a very good chance that she's connected to the Chandrian in some way: employee, enemy, anything that would repeatedly bring them together. In NotWc57, when Kvothe met Denna in the Eolian for the first time, he tells Bast, "Of course I talked to her. There would be no story if I hadn't." Based on the first two books, I wouldn't agree with that. She's obviously important to Kvothe, but she hasn't been necessary to the story yet. I guess that means in the third book she'll play (or it will be revealed that she has been playing) a much bigger role in Kvothe's search for the Chandrian (since in NotWc7 he says, "This is, in many ways, a story about the Chandrian"). So the big possibilities I see here are that she either: ( A ) provides crucial aid in finding the Chandrian, ( B ) prevents Kvothe from finding the Chandrian, or ( C ) is a Chandrian. So I think Denna is very connected with the Chandrian.



I don't think the shadow would be a skinwalker. There is at least one (and I think more?) instance where there is a difference between "demons" that look like men and "demons" that are inside men. See Trapis' story.
thistle pong
124. thistlepong

I'm kind of with Jo. "How Old Holly Came to Be," huh? These are bits from the introduction:
This story has a single plot, and it’s only about seventeen hundred words.

I wrote this story in a single day.

But once I was done with this story on that first day, it was really, really finished. I changed about eight words and that’s it.

It’s from an odd perspective, and it covers a vast scope of time.
It's brief, fast, and unedited. We know, I think to the day, when it was written, why, and what else he was working on at the time. It's billed as a Four Corners story and there are images plucked from setting.

But it's vague. Even, at first glance(s), kind of inconsistent. And interpretation is kind of all over the place. Take this:
There were great black wolves, with mouths of fire. There were men who had been bent halfway into birds. They were both, and bad.
jumbles guesses that the wolves are draccus-like, presumable 'cause of the mouths of fire. And yet, the mouth filled with fire appears in NW:
The fire filled their mouths and they sang songs of power.
Which leads directly into the second sentence, which jumbles interprets as Tehlu&Pals. Incidentally, I agree with that. They're bad. I pretty much agree with that, too. But I worry that my feelings about the primary text push me to that agreement.

That's just one bit, and it's a microcosm for what happenes when I read "Old Holly." Where do the pieces fit? What else am I missing? In a piece so hasty, is there anything to miss? Is it just tea leaves and chicken bones?

There is one thing that stands out for me. The use of bent. Part of why I chose the quote abouve to mess with is because it appears there. In "Old Holly," bent is mostly bad, except, and only sometimes, when it serves the Lady's purposes.

I'm running out of time, but bent to indicate wrong or even good-misused isn't new. It's from CS Lewis's Space Trilogy. Pat's a huge Lewis fan and has been since he could read. His blog post about love was more or less The Four Loves plus one. Anway, I guess I'm saying that that should be one of the places folks look for insight into the primary text. Bent.
John Graham
125. JohnPoint
Rogerdodge @122 re the Loeclos box:

As a proponent of the "Selitos-obsidian-eyepoker" theory, I think it's a strong possibility that the Chandrian are after the Loeclos box. As we discussed in SS14:This Far West, it seems like a good bet to me. I can't quite make the leap that Bredon is the Chandrian's contact, though it's a possibility, particularly if Bredon is actually Master Ash.

Re Old Holly:

My feeling is that the story takes place in Modeg (or at least that Modeg retained much of the cultural component of the "Holly" story). In the prologue to "Laniel" (see the link that Thistle posted @235 of the previous post), we see that towns in Modeg have tall god-trees that are the center (socially if not literally) of the culture. I interpret "Holly" to be one of these god-trees, or at least the precursor from which the practice/belief grew. I know that Pat has indicated that we haven't seen Modeg yet, but I'm of the opinion that perhaps we have, at least a bit.

I'll try to find the actual wording from Laniel later and post it -- don't have time right now...
Ryan Murray
126. TheYllest

I'd like to know what exactly you are trying to demonstrate with your post. It begins as though you are writing the Unified Theory of Relativity but only really focuses on why Cinder was in the Eld. Am I missing your point beyond your assertion that he was looking for the Loeclos Box? It doesn't seem like Denna or Bredon play anything other than a tangential part in this theory despite getting first and second billing in your opening line.

Also, as someone who falls into the Cinder camp for Master Ash, I'd like to know what convinced you of Bredon as opposed to the alternatives.
127. Valyrian
Regarding Denna:

I still agree with Jo's original assessment that she's portrayed strangely compared to other characters (especially in comparison with other women who appear more realistically), but I'm also kind of with Sue Munro that we don't need any supernatural background for Denna to make her character work.

The bits revealed in the Bechdel scene explain a lot of her behavior and life style to me. She's on her own, and is left with the options she described to the girl she saved. She charms rich noblemen and the like to get by and then leaves when they push her too much. She values her freedom.

That she is portrayed as a mysterious romance character is because Kvothe is telling this story, and that is what she was to him. Kvothe is playing a part to her, always trying to appear mysterious and romancey, and she's doing exactly the same with him. That's their common ground, that's what they do when they're together and at the same time why they can't get together. It ties in nicely with the idea that Denna's life mirrors Kvothe that seems widely accepted here.

There are other oddities about her, but they're more about her story in general than her characterization. That's why I like the theories about her being fallen out of her time by visiting the Fae. She could be from Yll before the conquest, or even a member of the Lackless family (or both considering the Lackless/Yll connection through the Loeclos box). Any of that would explain strange things like her anachronistic letter and moments like when she forgot who she was on the road from Tarbean to Imre with Kvothe.

I really like the observations about the moon and wind imagery around her (never would've picked that up), but I think both are more about here role in the story instead of hints about her nature as a character.

Kvothe is chasing after Denna like Arcanists are chasing the wind. Wind is something that is hard to get a hold of, so is Denna.

Jax is driven by his desire to have the moon, Kvothe is driven by his desire to be with Denna (and in both cases, the world suffers the consequences).

By the way, I also disagree with jumbles that Denna hasn't been important to the plot already. The entire chain of events in WMF hinges on her lost ring. Of course she will likely play an even larger role in D3 when her and Kvothe's narrative agendas clash again and the whole Master Ash situation gets out of control.
Sue Wilson Munro
128. Sue Munro
@Valyrian(127): I am so with you on Denna. I think the combination of falling out of time in the Fae, plus the rose-coloured glasses of Kvothe's youthful attraction/obsession with her, makes up her strangeness and mysteriosity (a better word than 'mysteriousness'). I like her with Fae influence because it explains some of the coyness and the secrecy of her, as well as her manner of speech, and would probably reinforce her reluctance to trust. But you're right, the Bechdel scene lays clear (to me) that she's just a girl, not some Otherworldly force cooked up by evil beings, designed to be Kvothe's foil. (Though she may be just that anyway, all unawares.)

With regards to Master Ash, I confess I'd put almost no thought to who he was until reading these speculative summaries. I figured there must be thousands of white-haired older gentlemen in the Four Corners, and it stands to reason that if they have white hair, then many might require a walking stick. So I never thought about whether Kvothe might have met him under another guise, because the description was so common. It never even occurred to me that the Cthaeh might be hinting that Kvothe had encountered Cinder other than the obvious twice.

I don't think Cinder is Master Ash. Even if he could glamour himself, which we've never heard of being a Chandrian power (though to be fair, it would be a poorer ability to have if everyone knew about it), I don't think he could disguise the terrible cruelty of his nature enough that Denna wouldn't recognize it. I know she believes that she somehow deserves to be beaten, but I don't think Cinder's five-thousand-year-old malice could be hidden for so long. If Denna is what she is, just a girl, she would sense it and run. It's in her nature.

If Master Ash was someone like Bredon, it would make infinitely more sense that she would stay with him, rationalizing that his good moods - the helpful, sincere, good-natured side of him that Kvothe sees - outweigh the rages that come upon him. That makes sense to me. But I don't think it's Bredon, either. I can't reconcile the man Kvothe knows with the petty malice of Master Ash. It seems to me that men who beat the women that depend on them are not confident men, not comfortable with who they are, nor able to comport themselves with the ease we see in Bredon; we would see a slipping if the mask, or Kvothe would. He (K) is so insightful into the natures of other men in all other cases in the story; it seems unlikely that he would misread Bredon so badly, and hold him in such high regard.

That said, I will have to go through WMF again, carefully, and see what I can see.
129. Rogerdodge
@ TheYllest
Im sorry i didnt take more time to make certain things clearer in my post. I was very tired, and it was very late for me. The things that put me in the Bredon=ash camp are: The walking stick we know he carries(after being shot through the knee Cinder Barely seems to notice, pulls it out and starts shouting directions to the archers. when he walks away he isnt described as limping but "stalked gracefully to the other side of the camp" this is not a creature that will need a walking stick), The timing of Bredon and Denna leaving Severin at the same time, we know that Cinder's eyes are black as coal with no whites, but denna doesnt mention anything like that for her patron(sure you can make the arguement that such a distinguishing feature would be of limits for divulgence, but it would also be something people would notice if they were seen together), Denna implies that her Patron is likely part of the court(“The truth is,” she said, as if confessing something. “I half suspect the song is for Alveron himself. Master Ash has implied he’s had dealings with the Maer.” She gave a mischievous grin. “Who knows? Running in the circles you do, you might have already met my patron and not even known it.”), says specifically he is a very powerful person while Cinder cannot let his existence be known publicly let alone the kind of power he has, there is also the comment about him being a surprisingly good dancer, and the comment from bredon about learnig to dance. A few other things that i can't think of at the moment.

The point I was really trying to get across is that Bredon(as Denna's patron) is working for the Chandrian, and thus by extension so is Denna. But denna didn't know she was working for the Chandrian. The idea that the Chandrian were responsible for Trebon throws her for a loop. Even though Denna and Kvothe agree it was the Chandrian, she later calls him a child for suggesting the Chandrian are related to Lanre.
Sue Wilson Munro
130. Sue Munro
Sort of off topic, I also love the idea that Kvothe encountered an angel in Tarbean when he was lying in the streets at Midwinter, seeing in his fever-dream a great bird with wings of fire and shadow. I can't believe I never noticed it. The story of Selitos forming the Amyr and Aleph recruiting the angels is told so soon after. Of course!

The better question, though, is what purpose do the angels have to save Kvothe's life? Consider, for the moment, that both times he has encountered the Chandrian, or Cinder at least, something in the sky has scared them away. Let us assume that both times, it was the angels, or an angel, responding to the calling of their Names in prayer (once by Marten, certainly, and once by Arliden, possibly). Both times the angels arrived in time to save Kvothe from danger, though they were much too late to save the troupe. If Arliden had been praying, calling the angels, it might have been hours between his call and when they came. Only when Kvothe found the Chandrian and was in danger did the angels arrive. And in the bandit camp, only when Cinder took notice of Kvothe did they come again, just in time to send Cinder into flight. (This also supports the idea that Tehlu is one of the angels, not the omniscient God of the traditional Tehlin church, because it's Tehlu's name that catches Cinder's attention while Marten prays, and it's angels that the Chandrian are afraid of.) (I wonder if the singers Haliax mentions are the angels?)

So why? Three times angels have ostensibly come to his aid. Why Kvothe? What future purpose does he have that the angels are protecting? That is an interesting question to me.
131. Valyrian
We're talking about Master Ash again aren't we?

I find myself flipping back and forth between the two options. The overall weight of evidence favors Bredon, and from a storytelling perspective Cinder is the more likely red herring. It's just that I find it incredibly hard to ignore the "Feran, Forue, Fordale ..." line which approaches Cinder's true name Ferule. Then he's suspiciously coincidentally cut short by the ash leaf.

We have spent a lot of time establishing Kvothe's knack for intuitive naming (white sock, Nina ... later Auri). And that clue doesn't make sense as a red herring because we only learn about Ferule much later in the story. Names are too important for this to be just a fluke.

Regarding angels:

I think we all agree that the angels are singers, but I don't think angels are the singers. Kvothe likely is a singer too, or at least was acting like a singer in his fight with Felurian. As has been pointed out before, both scenes even feature the "star riding on their brows" description. The Tahl might also be singers.

Singing appears to be another way to access your sleeping mind and use naming, or even a more powerful way of naming. The Adem taboo against music might originate from a prohibition against singing after the powers it unleashed had caused so much destruction in the Creation War. The University's disdain for every kind of performing art could be another vestige of this, or even the whole discrimination of the Edema Ruh (maybe the emperors even persecuted them because they thought they were dangerous?).

Another incident where the angels intervene indirectly is Nina's painting of the vase. I doubt leaving Andan's and Ordal's name on the page was only rural religious superstition. The Chandrian had killed an entire wedding party because of the vase, so there must be something to stop them from doing the same to get rid of the drawings.

I'm not sure if they have specific plans for Kvothe. Their behavior so far is pretty much in line with the stated goals in Skarpi's story, counteracting the Chandrian. Maybe they only aid him because he manages to get into conflict with them. That's something I'm sure we will find out in D3 though, because of Kvothe's "I have spoken to Gods" line. Who else would that be?

(Just realized that the above doesn't explain their appearance in Tarbean. Maybe there's more to it after all.)
Sahi Rioth
132. Sahirioth
Valyrian @ 131:
We have spent a lot of time establishing Kvothe's knack for intuitive naming (white sock, Nina ... later Auri).
One-sock. (Yes I'm an ass, sorry.) And on that note (and off topic): my new neighbors' cat keeps patrolling our garden, the same route every day. I decided if he's gonna be that familiar I might as well name him (since I don't know what his name is). He's black, but three of his feet are white. I was half a moment from calling him Keth-Selhan, 'til I relized that's one sock. So now I just call him Threesocks.
Steven Halter
133. stevenhalter
If it was the angels who interrupted the Chandrian from killing Kvothe along with the rest of his troupe then it seems likely that they made note of this and decided to keep an eye on Kvothe. He became a person of interest.
Jo Walton
134. bluejo
And if that was angels, are they also perhaps the Sithe? Skarpi's second story is about a split between "angels" and Amyr, but both of them are opposed to new evil being done. If the "angels" are the Sithe, working against the CTH and the Chandrian and evil generally, that fits.
135. Valyrian
@132. Sahirioth:

Thanks for the correction. Don't know what it says about me that I could quote the Fe-ru-le line from memory but get that wrong. (And cats with socks are cute.)
thistle pong
136. thistlepong

Nat Taylor's image of the Sithe ( depicts them more like what's described in the text: armor, bows, holly crowns, mounted. Tehlu&Pals are described as (mostly unseen) six winged seraphim. I don't think they're the same.
Sue Wilson Munro
137. Sue Munro
I don't think the Sithe and the angels are the same either. Their descriptions are very different. I like the idea that Naming through singing is more powerful, encompassing more, such as when Kvothe sang Felurian's Name in the Fae, and that angels can sing Names - it feels right to me.

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