May 8 2014 11:00am

Rothfuss Reread: What Can We Learn From The Name of the Wind Playing Cards? (Part 2)

The Name of the Wind playing cards box 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 last time, we considered the box of the Albino Dragon The Name of the Wind playing cards, created after the immensely successful Kickstarter project.

This time, we’re going to look at some actual cards.

The back of all the cards is a lovely design, symmetrical around an axis. There’s an eight-spoked wheel at the centre, making me wonder if it’s more significant than we have been thinking. Have we been dismissing Tehlu’s wheel as mumbo-jumbo because we’re suspicious of religion? Could it represent something really significant about the universe and the way things turn? And the Four Corners, there are four spokes really on an eight-spoke wheel?

Beyond the wheel are two sets of talent pipes, two lutes, two books, two candles and a lot of twiddles. I’m not making anything in particular of the twiddles.

It’s a deck of cards, so naturally it’s in four suits. And first come Spades.

The Name of the Wind playing cards ace of spades

The spade symbol on these cards contains a sword. The sword is explicitly identified on the Kickstarter page as Folly. So that’s interesting, this is a representation of Folly—like a sword made out of all swords melted down in a crucible, essence of sword. I guess. It’s pretty symbolic standard Western fantasy sword, a little shorter than I’d imagine it, in proportion.

And the cards—the Ace is Folly. It’s a sword—again, very much a canonical sword, mounted on a spade shaped board, dark brown (roah, no doubt?) with holly twined around the base, and the sword sticking straight up. The holly is put on at the beginning of WMF. The words “Be Wary of Folly” are arranged in scrolls around it, each word separately, with “of” crossing the sword and “Folly” under the pommel. This is an allegorical, rather than representational, painting. The scrolls are floating in the air, and the sword and mounting board are backed by a night sky. There’s a full moon. And clouds are passing in front of it! Now isn’t that interesting, considering the moon on the box!

Floating about behind are two quills and some sheets of parchment covered in writing—perhaps Chronicler’s text, or perhaps Kvothe’s abortive attempt to write his own story. There are other sheets and quills in the wind behind, and two withered autumn leaves that look to me like oakleaves at the bottom of the card. (There’s no question of orientation here because of the writing.)

The ordinary cards have the sword on the spade, and each one has a little black and white doodle in the corner. These are mostly the same ones on each suit, but in different order. I’m going to look at them here. The drawings all appear in the lower left hand corner, and mostly use that corner—two lines—as part of the picture.

The two has a leaf floating down in the corner towards another leaf lying on the ground in a shaded corner.

The three has another shaded corner with an Edema Ruh wagon in it, under a tree.

The four has an eight-spoked wheel, and some grass.

The five has a sword, perhaps Folly again.

The six is confusing—I think it’s a sympathy lamp on a book? I’m not sure. Anyone?

The seven is a candle in a saucer, set down on the ground.

The eight is a pile of books.

The nine is a waystone.

The ten is a quill in an inkwell with a sheet of manuscript next to it.

The Jack is one that completely threw me. I had no idea who it was meant to be. I considered Sim and Fela. But it’s Bast and a Kickstarter contributor as his random girl of the moment. The card is, in typical card fashion, doubled, with the same image on the top and bottom. Behind them is a gold curtain and a wall of stone “bricks”, evenly sized mortared stones. If this is the Waystone, that’s information.

Also, why does Bast go with spades, swords, Folly? It’s not where I’d have naturally put him. There’s a “swag” dividing the card in two, and it contains something I can’t make out at all, very dark, black and white, and I have no idea but my guess is that it’s incredibly significant and I want somebody to tell me what it is!

The Queen is Denna, and here Shawn Tyree does a clever thing and uses the normal card reversal to show her present in the top and absent in the bottom—the same scene, without her. (Though it’s not exactly the same, more in a moment.) I can’t think of a better visual image to represent D the way she has been shown in the books. What we have is a city street—Imre? Tarbean? Presumably not Severen as this is NW. D is a pretty girl in a red dress running along the street smiling. arms and legs bare, hair blown back. Behind her head is something that could be a line of bunting, or reddish leaves on a string. There’s a man in the shadows watching her, and a woman behind taking no notice. The man in the shadows is older, sinister, unidentifiable—Master Ash? (I bet it is.)

In the reversed picture the street is empty, no woman, no man, no bunting, but there are two pieces of paper blowing in the wind (her messages to Kvothe?) and there’s also something that’s blocked by her figure in the first picture and which I can’t make out. It looks to me like coal carts—little trucks. It could also be furniture outside a pub, or signboards—anyone? Whatever it is, there are two things, and they are in shadow, and very visibly shadowy and dark against the white and fairly classical architecture of the street. There’s also, visible in both, a series of regularly spaced streetlamps, which makes me think it’s Imre. You can have streetlighting without magic or technology, but it’s way less likely.

Why is D in spades?

The swag here contains leaves blowing about randomly—we know what that means, but would it be interesting to consider how it connects to D?

The king of spades is Kote—or Kote/Kvothe, again using the reversal of the card to do a double image that’s different. In both we can see Folly and rows of bottles behind the bar. In one it’s daylight, K is polishing a goblet and smiling like an innkeeper. In the other, it’s darker and so is K. The scene is lit by a candle. He’s holding a bottle and a goblet and frowning. Of course there was no music.

Why is K in spades? The swag has the sun with clouds, and a crescent moon with clouds in front of it. But it’s the other crescent from the one on the box. Am I learning anything here or just getting more confused?

Why are Bast, D and K together as the “family” of spades?

Now, Hearts! Spades are swords, and Hearts are the “talent pipe” suit.

The ace of hearts is another allegorical picture, like the ace of spades. This shows a heart with the words “pride pays silver and plays golden” on scrolls around it. The heart is draped with talent pipes, and begind it is a lute, a bottle, and a tankard which I thought was smoking but which seems to have a feather in it. The heart is standing, floating, something, on wooden planks, and behind that is a purple sky with a quarter moon in it and clouds passing in front of it. In front! So at what point do they go behind? What an interesting question, maybe somebody else can answer it!

The hearts have talent pipes in them. The 2 has a waystone in the corner.

The 3 has the weird thing, maybe Kvothe’s sympathy lamp? These are the same objects but not the same order as spades!

The 4 has the candle.

The 5 has a lute—this is different!

The 6 has the quill and inkwell.

The 7 is new—a little plant, with drifting leaves.

The 8 has the falling feather.

The 9 is new—a full moon, with clouds in front.

The 10 has the sword.

The Jack is Sim, blond and smiling, with his collar open. He’s mirrored the same. And in the dividing swag is a pile of books. Behind him we can see two people sitting at a table. They’re both white so neither of them is Willem. I thought they were playing cards, but on closer inspection they don’t seem to be. They have books in front of them. There’s a light behind with a trellis across it, and a lamp at the side. I was thinking it was the Eolian, because Sim goes there and this is the talent pipe suit, but I think it must be the archives. Oh cool!

The Queen is Fela, standing with a pile of books under her arm. I think she must be in the Archives too! There’s a golden diffuse light, and tables, yes, it could easily be a university library. She has bare arms and a bracelet and her vest accentuates her breasts, the features Sim praised in Eld Vintic verse that time in WMF. She’s Modegan, you know, and that seems to be reflected in darkish skin and coppery hair, unusual and striking. There are three people visible behind her, and I’ve got nothing. Anyone? The swag has books again, exactly the same as Sim’s.

The King is Deoch and Stanchion, one on each half, and it’s in the Eolian. Deoch’s at the door, with his arms folded, looking skeptical, and behind him is a room full of people having a good time. Stanchion has a mug in his hand and he’s smiling. Behind him we can see the stage, and some patrons. The people in the background here are all very fuzzy and generic. I can’t see anything Yllish about Deoch. He has really muscular arms. In the swag are talent pipes and a foaming mug.

Do Sim, Fela, Deoch and Stanchion make a “family” in any useful way? They’re all really positive for Kvothe, unequivocal friends, nothing but positive. And they’re all in University/Imre, and they all know each other.

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.

Carl Banks
1. robocarp
On one hand, Kote, Bast, and Denna are probably on Spades since Spades is the strongest suit (usually) and they are probably the three most important characters in NotW. It might not be themetically related to the sword.

But, Fela, Sim, Deoch and Stanchon do seem to be thematically related to hearts. Fela and Sim is obvious, and Deoch and Stanchion... well word on the street is that they were lovers. (I recall reading a brief commentary somewere suggesting this.)
Alice Arneson
2. Wetlandernw
Is there a picture of the back of the cards somewhere?
Andrew Mason
3. AnotherAndrew
'Spade' is thought to derive from Spanish spada, sword: and the spade suit is often seen as the equivalent of the sword suit in the old southern European deck (preserved as part of the Tarot deck). So it makes sense that spades will be associated with swords. And that makes it reasonable to link Kvothe, bearer of Saicere and owner of Folly, with the suit. Then I would guess that Denna and Bast come in because of their connection with Kvothe - D as his love-interest, Bast as his servant/pupil - even if the three of them don't form an obvious group.
thistle pong
4. thistlepong

Is there a picture of the back of the cards somewhere?

TheYllest put up a good quality image gallery up at

Here's a key for it:
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
And you can find a few other images along with available items at
Evgeni Kirilov
5. ArgentSun
Uh... I was watching the Kickstarter while it was still being funded, Pat and Shane discussed many of the characters' suits and the reasons behind them. Unfortunately, I don't remember why Kvothe, Bast, and Denna are spades. A bit of trivia about Denna's card though - it's a little bit of a cheat. Its design is inspired by a quote from WMF, something about how a city without Denna feels empty, hollow, deserted.

Also, I am pretty sure Sim is in the Eolian - I remember something about his and Wil's (not playable) card kind of fitting together, depicting a single game of cards they play.

Hearts are, I think, Kvothe's friends. Clubs are his family, and Diamonds represent money (Ambrose & Devi) AND craftsmanship (Master Kilvin) alike.
Ross Newberry
6. rossnewberry
Kote/Kvothe on the King of Spades has one other difference that I see. On one side, the bottom of the mounting board says Folly. On the other side, it says Wary.
7. landofnowhere
The K card is really amazing; I've played a number of games with it now and never paid any attention to the unhappy-Kote side of it. That dude really does have a Somebody Else's Problem field about him.

The clothing of the folks in the background of the Fela card seems more modern than the others -- is there a reason for that?

This is perhaps something to consider in the next thread -- but it's interesting to note who isn't appearing in this deck, and if they might have something to hide. The people who spring to mind for me are Chronicler and Abenthy.
Robert Dickinson
8. ChocolateRob
Just got my cards half an hour ago (after paying an extra £22:30 import charge). I'm looking at the back right now and there are only six spokes on the wheel in the centre, not eight.

I'll get back to reading the post now...
Alice Arneson
9. Wetlandernw
thistlepong @4 - Awesome! Thank you very much.
Kevin Baijens
10. ImRhoven
All the people in the backgrounds on the heart face cards are Kickstarter backers who got their likeness on a card. They don't have any special book related significance AFAIK.

Some things I see/interpret differently:
I think Sim does sit in the Eolean. The people behind him have mugs/tankards in front of them, not books, to my eyes. Sim also has a tankard himself. That would be odd in the Archives.

On the ace of hearts the "feather" in the tankard is IMO a head of foam sloshing out.

I think putting Dena as the queen of spades is interesting. In a good number of card games I know the queen of spades is the card you want to avoid/the one that hurts you or even can outright lose you the game. It's your downfall. I don't think that Denna's placing there is an accident.
11. Janelle Barnard Jones
Hi sorry to be picky but

"and here Shawn Tyree does a clever thing"

it's Shane Tyree not Shawn.

There used to be wonderful videos on YouTube of Shane drawing the cards and talking about them with people in a hangout, they were originally a live broadcast held while Shane was doing the artwork. Unfortunetely these were removed from Albino Dragon's profile after Erik and Shane went their seperate ways.
Hopefully they will be restored in time as the level of detail that was explained in these discussions was mind blowing.
Robert Dickinson
12. ChocolateRob
OK I've read the rest now.

The wheel always has six spokes not eight.
The 6 of spades is indeed his sympathy lamp.
It is clearly a market day behind Denna. Nothing sinister about the guy selling fruit to a man and a kid. Can’t see what the woman is selling on her stall though.
@5 good catch about the Denna quote.
@6 I spotted that too. Happy Kote is folly, sad Kote is wary.

Ace of hearts. The tankard is splashing in motion, it clearly contains 'Sounten' not smoke or a feather
The 8 of hearts is a leaf, not a feather (you said it correctly for 2 of spades).
Jack of hearts. The background pair are drinking and don't have books (there is a chair-back behind/beside one of them, that’s what you’re seeing). What lamp? I see no lamp. There is no drinking in the archives so it must be a pub, Sim has a tankard too. Looks pretty plain and quiet so probably Anker’s rather than the Eolian though.
Queen of hearts is clearly in the reading room of the archives, books not drinks.
Stanchion should have redder hair in my opinion. Illien's fire.
Jo Walton
13. bluejo
Landofnowhere: Yes, good point. No Chronicler, no Abenthy, no Scarpi, no Trapis...
John Graham
14. JohnPoint
Add me to the group who think that Sim (and Wil, on his "gaff" card) are at Ankers. Makes sense, and looks a lot different from the Deoch/Stanchion card background.

Robocarp @1 re Deoch and Stanchion -- it is not only suggested that they are a couple, it is explicitly stated in WMF when Denna gets the tutorial about how sympathy works.

Re spades: Bast, Denna, and Kote seem natural as spades to me. Spades, as a suit, represents Kvothe's life after "the event" and related to "Folly". In particular, his life is represented by three things: the duality of "Kote as innkeeper" and "melancholic Kvothe in hiding", his relationship and mentorship with Bast, and the absence of Denna. As such, those three go together.

Hearts are, I think, Kvothe's friends. Clubs are his family, and Diamonds represent money (Ambrose & Devi) AND craftsmanship (Master Kilvin) alike.
To expand on this, I would also point out that Clubs are Kvothe's life pre-Chandrian (and pre-University), Diamonds are his challenges at the University, Hearts are his friends at the University, and Spades represents his life post-University. There are temporal aspects as well as thematic aspects to each suit.

ETA: Jo - I think that the image on the Bast schwa is holly leaves and berries.
jum bles
15. jumbles
Every Ace is set on a different surface. In these suits it's clouds and wood planks.
I find the shapes the leaves make on the Ace of Spades interesting. The bottom left looks like a butterfly and the bottom right looks like it could be a sipquick/calanthis.
King of Spades happy, folly, unlit-candle side: flowers are alive
King of Spades sad, wary, lit-candle side: flowers are dead
Also of note on the King of Spades: there is a pinecone. So the Waystone has access to pinecones if we want more hints about location.
I totally agree that I wouldn't have put Bast in spades. That is where I would have put Kvothe and Denna, though I would have made Kvothe the Jack.
The Bast card is NOT identical on both sides. In one side his eyes are completely blue.
jum bles
16. jumbles
Also, I think the clouds behind the moon on the box may have just been them trying to illustrate that when the moon isn't full, part of it is gone. They may not have thought of how close the moon would have to be to be in front of the clouds.

EDIT: Though it is definitely possible that they meant for the moon to be that close.
17. Tarvik
Regarding why characters are placed in the suits I believe it has to do with the tarot-like meanings of said suits. I'm with ArgentSun in that I remember them discussing, but as it's been nearly a full year since then I can't recall specifics. In general (from memory) the suits mean:

Spades - Courage, Strength
Hearts - Emotions, Feelings (Love being the obvious one)
Clubs - Intelligence, Speech
Diamonds - Wealth, Matter

Based on this the choices, in my mind, are pretty accurate.
Alf Bishai
18. greyhood
A thought about the moon in the atmosphere. I haven't read all the posts, so might have been said.

1) There's no way the sun can be illuminating something so close and it still be night. (It would illuminate everthing.) The moon must be light-emitting.

2) I wonder if the moon is not a sphere, but a disc. Think of the geometry for a second. The reason that the real moon appears as a crescent is that the sun is shining on a sphere. But if the sun isn't shining on it, and the dark part of the moon is missing...well, how do you shave off a sphere to get that shape? It would have to look like a Lego person's hand, sort of. And there's only two angles to view it from where it would look like a crescent. From another angle it would look like a full circle, and mostly it would look bizarre. You would be the flat inside. But if it was a disc, no problem. Of course there's no reason it would have to be a perfect crescent. But the box shows it as one. So either it's a disc, or we're looking at it from one of the perfect angles, and that doesn't feel right. Too convenient, sloppy.

3) If the moon is a light-emitting disc, then maybe the wheel represents the moon fairly directly. (And what if Encanis is still on it, and it is he that is getting passed between the two realms piecemeal. Nah.)

4) Probably been said, but with the moon inside the atmosphere, it makes more literal sense that Jax could draw it closer to the mountain. He may have brought it right down.
19. Tarvik
Also regarding the people in the background, I don't believe any of the more prominent people are significant in any of the cards. I was the likeness used for the guy in the red shirt in the Fela card, and I just wanted a "damn she's hot" expression on me...
20. Nameless
I always wondered if it is not Denna who is betraying Kvothe, but someone else from the university. Willem as a Gaff Card instead of the second part of the Sim card, puts him into a surprising prominent position.
Whether this means that he is the traitor, or simple that there may be much more to him than we all expect remains the question.
21. kingkillerthriller

Just a thought - Albino Dragon has the best website for scrutinizing the cards. Their prints can be clicked and zoom in on
22. Marco.
Is that the ring of stone on Fela's hand?
(left hand, index finger)
24. smocksmocksmock
kingkillerthriller @21
Just a thought - Albino Dragon has the best website for scrutinizing the cards. Their prints can be clicked and zoom in on
Agreed! Thanks for the linky. It's fun to zoom way in. It's also nice that you can see the cards in both orientations.

I realize this isn't about Spades or Hearts, but I couldn't resist. Check out Laurian's card here:

It's interesting that in the Happy/Welcoming half of the card, the moon is behind the clouds, but in the Sad/Warding half, the moon is in front. What does it mean!
25. smocksmocksmock
@Jo, re: grey stones in the Bast card,
Behind them is a gold curtain and a wall of stone “bricks”, evenly sized mortared stones. If this is the Waystone, that’s information.
The stones behind K(v)ot(h)e on the King of Spades card,

are also grey. Though these stones are round and unevenly sized, not much like the regular array of bricks on Bast's card. Perhaps Bast is sitting elsewhere? Or maybe different parts of the Waystone's walls are built from different types of grey stones, with different construction methods? Hmmm.

Wild speculation: perhaps the Waystone was constructed or reconstructed to incorporate literal waystones? We suspect there's something magical happening in the physical structure of the Waystone, something that keeps Kvothe powerless, Nameless and/or hidden. Waystones certainly play an important and mysterious role in the story, popping up again and again as backdrops to pivotal plot points. We don't know who built the ancient things, or what their purpose was (though the label "Way" is suggestive). Is part of the Waystone's silence in them?

jum bles
26. jumbles
Marco@22 Re: Fela's ring of stone

I don't think it is since this is a Name of the Wind deck and she didn't make the ring until Wise Man's Fear.

John Point@14

I think this being a Name of the Wind deck may also be a point against Spades being K's life post-University since Denna is not present in the frame story which is the only post-University part of that book.
Carl Banks
27. robocarp
I've thought about the moon for awhile, and I've decided that Felurian's story about the moon was more literally true than we seem to have been thinking. According to her, moon is located directly between the Mortal and Fae worlds.

Presumably the moon moves very slowly in the sky relative to the stars like the sun does. This would mean that the moon, and thus also the Faen realm, revolve around the Mortal. (Or they both revolve around each other, or something.) The moon can get closer or further from Mortal, and the distance is related to the phase. Felurian said the moon is closest to Mortal when it's full (in Mortal) and closesnt to Fae when it's new. But the in between phases don't necessarily have to be an exact linear relationship; there could be a lag or something. So a crescent moon could be close or not so close.

Perhaps you see where I'm going. If clouds are covering the moon, it's closer to Fae and therefore it's more dangerous according to the conventional wise-man's wisdom. If the moon is covering the clouds, the moon is closer to Mortal and so it's safer.

And yet, from the Laurian card, it appears that the Chandrian attacked when the moon was closer to Mortal. To me it makes sense: conventional wisdom is about the relatively common danger of being sucked into the Fae, not the extremely rare danger of a Chandrian attack. It's my opinion that the Chandrian are enemies of the Fae (and have been since the Creation War) and so it makes sense they'd attack when there was less danger from Faerie (Sithe) interference. This is perhaps why it's considered lucky to stop near waystones.

Random moon thoughts:

Its motion would make a spirograph-like pattern in the sky.

Before it was stolen, the moon was in a fixed location relative to the Mortal world, probably parked right above the Stormwall mountains. (This is based on the Jax story.) It moves now because the Faen realm moves, and both realms have an equal grip on the moon.

A completely separate idea: perhaps the moon's appearance depends on the vantage point of the viewer, similar to a rainbow. That's how it can be at a lowish altitude but be visible over a large portion of a curved world.
Jason German
28. naillin
As far as why characters are the Jack, Queen, King of their suits, also look at the words of their suits on the Aces. I personally can't think of anyone who needs to "be wary of folly" more than Bast (sleeping with local married women, luring Chronicler in, meddling with Kvothe's plans), D (Master Ash, her life and her seeking after arcane things) and Kvothe (see both books). Similarly for the other suit, they may not be Rich and Powerful, but all of them are well settled plus they have the joy of doing something they are both good at and enjoy doing.
jum bles
29. jumbles

That's a clever idea about the moon. But it sort of seems unnecessary since the moon teleports or whatever from one world to the other.
Patrick Stultz
30. Audion
re: Moon

So all of the places that I've seen the moon so far are as follows:

Box Cover - Cresent Moon in front of clouds
Joker - Auri - Full Moon no clouds
Ace of Spades - Full Moon behind clouds
King of Spades - Cresent Moon behind clouds (in small pic seperating top/bottom)
Ace of Hearts - Half Moon behind clouds
Ace of Diamonds - Half Moon with an apparent outline of the other half, no clouds by it
Ace of Clubs - Cresent Moon behind clouds
Queen of Clubs - Top Half Cresent behind clouds, Bottom Half Cresent in front of clouds
Random numbers, like 2 of Hearts - Cresent Moon Behind Waystones

What it all means? Well obviously I don't know, but some of them were interesting for sure! All 4 Aces have the moon on it, but only his mothers card the Queen of Clubs has a moon for the suits in the picture (Kvothe's King card has it in the small picture of Sun/Moon)

Also only Folly and Auri are graced by a full moon. If we wanted to get really deep into it maybe that means he got Folly with the key to the moon Auri gave him! (I don't think so, but it's fun to speculate!)

As for the Spades, I especially like the Kvothe one, King of Spades. Did you notice the Happy Kote one has Folly written above it on the sword plaque, and the Sad Kvothe one has Wary written on the board? I'd say that's pretty poignant.

Can't wait for the Clubs post! His father's top/bottom is great! Love the cloaked figures in the background! :)
John Graham
31. JohnPoint
Jumbles @26:
I think this being a Name of the Wind deck may also be a point against Spades being K's life post-University since Denna is not present in the frame story which is the only post-University part of that book.
That's exactly my point. Denna is conspicuous in Kvothe's post-University (including Frame) time by her absence from the story. And the "bottom" of her card shows her absence. The lack of Denna is a defining characteristic of "Kote", and her card shows this.

In fact, I'm wondering if we have to view the tops of the cards together, and the bottoms together. For example in Spades, the tops are Happy Kote, Denna, and Bast-with-human-eyes. The bottoms of the cards are Sad Kote, absent Denna, and Bast-with-Fae-eyes. Telling, isn't it?

Robocarp @27 -- I was wondering something similar about the moon. Perhaps it being in front of the clouds indicates when it's near the Mortal, and when it's behind the clouds indicates when it's nearer to the Fae. Seems to make sense from an artistic/allegoric/imagery standpoint, if not a "literal, in the 4C sky" standpoint.
jum bles
32. jumbles
Oh, whoops. I remembered you had suggested they were post-University, but when I looked at your post again I just looked at the end of it. I should have re-read the whole post. Okay, that makes more sense.
jum bles
33. jumbles
Hmm, people in the Crockery get upset when storms come in and during the full moon. Could the moon coming physically closer cause storms? Sounds plausible to me but I have no scientific evidence to support that feeling. And if that's when the Chandrian strike, could that be why storms are one of their rumored signs?
34. smocksmocksmock
A couple of quotes about silence, stone, walls and the Waystone, in support of the "Waystone made of waystone" theory.

NW epilogue:

"The third silence was not an easy thing to notice. If you listened for an hour, you might begin to feel it in the thick stone walls of the empty taproom and in the flat, grey metal of the sword that hung behind the bar."

WMF prologue:

" the chill of the window glass and the smooth plaster walls of the innkeeper's room."

There's also the refrain in all the prologues and epilogues, "it was heavy as a great river-smooth stone."


- grey stones in the K and Bast cards,

- the name of the inn ("names are important things"),

- speculation throughout the reread about K's powers being muted inside the Waystone (scrael-slayer outside; punching bag for thugs inside)

- repeated language linking the silence to the physical structure of the Waystone

Too slender a thread?
Jeremy Raiz
35. Jezdynamite

Did anyone else notice that Laurian appears to have green eyes in her Queen of Clubs card?

You can see it if you zoom in on this linked picture above (it's clearest in the happy half of the card). I can't remember if it said in the books if she had green eyes.

Also, what I can only imagine as Cinder also appears to be behind Laurian on the right side of the unhappy side of her card.

Also, it looks like the back of at least 6 of the Chandrian also appear in the unhappy side of Arlidens card. Perhaps the 7th is not in this card, because Cinder is on Laurian's card?
jum bles
36. jumbles
Yeah, Laurian has green eyes with gold rings around the pupils according to NotWc16.
Magali Desjardins Potvin
38. RKMagali
I believe landofnowhere @7 said something about Chronicler and others being absent from the deck? However, if you look closely at the young Kvothe card (jack of clubs), in the bottom/sad half of the card, where the adult K at the Waystone has his hands over his face: you see two people in the background (through an open doorway), sitting in the main room at a table. It's hard to make them out, but one of them has black hair (probably Bast), and the other has a sheet of paper in his hand (Chronicler, maybe?). If so, this is taking place during the storytelling 'frame' part of the books...

Also, another detail I noticed in the K/Kvothe card (king of spades): on the 'happy' K half of the card, there is a little pot with two purple flowers on the left side of the shelf behind him, while on the 'sad' half of the card, the flowers are dead/dying and the pedals have fallen.
Andrew Mason
39. AnotherAndrew
Nameless@20: my guess is that Sim and Fela were chosen for Hearts because, as a couple, they fit neatly under it, and then a place had to be found for Wil because, as a member of Kvothe's closest circle of friends, he can't be left out entirely. I don't think it need have significance beyond that.
Igor Bugaenko
40. BioLogIn
@robocarp, 27

"Presumably the moon moves very slowly in the sky relative to the stars like the sun does."

As we know, synodic period (time to re-appear in exactly the same spot in the sky) for 4C moon is "seventy-two and a third days". Which is ~2.5 slower than Earth's Moon (27.32 days). So 4C moon is slower, but nor _that_ slow.
41. Rich C
Also, on the Laurien card, there appears to be some kind of wild animal stalking the campsite, maybe a large cat? Its right next to the tree, above the campfire on the left-hand side of card. The animal seems to have four legs and glowing eyes .... any idea what that is?
42. Bob the Bloodless
Sorry to go on a tangent to your moon wonderings - but I have just thought of a thiing.

Encanis when trapped on the wheel being tortured by Telhu in Trapis' story shatters the stones for half a mile around.

The guy who recognises Kvothe at the beginning of NW says he saw the stones shattered in Imre.

So - I guess at some point Kvothe will shatter those stones.. but that's not the bit of info it's really telling us.

It tells us that Encanis/Haliax/Kvothe all started human / have the same condition uhmmm. It tells us that this shattering is just the emotional outcry or rage of a namer/shaper who is pushed too far.

This suggests to me that Encanis was not a demon. Just a man. Maybe a bad man.

Suggests that also Tehlu could have started as just human.
So i think all the angels, singers, sithe all started human. All of them just namers/shapers - OR people who have been shaped to a purpose.

I'm also interested in why Fae was created in the first place.

Maybe Fae was created not as a place for shapers/namers to go play but as a place to allow anyone to name/shape?

Grammerie and Glamourie (you know what I mean) are magics that I assume can only happen in the Fae because that is for everyone there by design - like an inbuilt naming/shaping. I'm saying that everyone in Fae can Gram and Glam because thats part of the Fae world. But then it also works in 4C but not as well we hear. It could be that all people have naming/shaping potential and its just easier to learn in the Fae.

The Bast milk mouth blood bowl thing could be Grammerie - which he has no trouble performing. I think Gram/Glam are again just more naming/shaping.

So is naming/shaping in Fae easier than naming/shaping in 4c ? why?

I think maybe because Fae was created for this purpose.

These arent people who want to hide away - they are people who want to share the wonderful things they have made with everyone - silver apples - a MOON!!

This moon freaks me out - what is it. If it isnt a orbital body and wasn't ever one - why are they all calling it the moon!! haha

It's the ever burning lamp Kilvin is after - so why do they call it the moon :)

Rambles over, thanks for reading.
Bruce Wilson
43. Aesculapius
Jo, I suspect the Ace of Spades depicts a hand-and-a-half longsword (also referred to as a "bastard" sword) -- the proportions might look a little off to you because that's probably an intentionally longer hilt for a double-handed grip. The overall style, including the designs of the cross-guard and the pommel, is very typical of some Germanic and middle European longswords from around the mid- to late-Fifteenth Century.

See here (about half-way down the page under "medieval longswords") for some very good modern replica examples: Link

You can also get a feel for the relative size of these longswords compared to the shorter, singled-handed swords further up the page.

Overall, it looks a lot like the original historic weapon on which this (high-quality) modern replica was based: Link

Hope that helps a bit.

There is now much study of various Mediaeval and Renaissance treatises on fighting sytems, swordsmanship and the whole plethora of European historic martial arts from around this time. See, for example, the works of Fiore dei Liberi and Johannes Lichtenauer.

I find it very interesting that PR has chosen this specific form of sword for Folly -- I wonder if the particular links of this sort of sword to established historical teachings on fencing and other fighting skills were part of the inspiration for the Adem...?
Bruce Wilson
44. Aesculapius
@35 Jezdynamite

Yes, that must be six Chandrian on Arliden's half of the picture and Cinder on Laurien's half. It's quite touching the way the cards work as one overall image, with the two of them apparently singing and almost dancing together in the evening firelight in the happy half, and then deserately reaching out to one another, surrounded by corpses, destruction and plenty of blue flames in the sad half...!

Laurien seems spot on but Arliden doesnt work at all for me; I always imagined him as much bigger, stronger -- not so weedy looking! ...and always with a beard too. Did I just make that up or does K specifically mention it in the text? I have a feeling he does...
Alice Arneson
45. Wetlandernw
Yes, Arliden had a beard. Specifically mentioned in the text. Chapter 12: "My father tugged thoughtfully at his beard for a moment." (There are more, but that's the first I found, which is enough.)
Bruce Wilson
46. Aesculapius
Thanks -- I thought so!

Maybe these images aren't quite as accurate or as truly symbolic as we're considering (hoping) them to be...?

I grant you it's all good fun picking through the images on the cards but, given a degree of artistic license and interpretation for all that PR was involved in the process, perhaps we should be wary of reading way too much into small details?
jum bles
47. jumbles

Pat doesn't have the details of his books perfectly memorized in his head. In the Kickstarter videos Arliden's beard was one thing they discussed. I don't think PR remembered whether Arliden had one or not and decided that no beard was more appropriate since it is easier for an actor to apply makeup without a beard and a fake beard can always be applied.

Another example of his hazy memory for the details: Shane Tyree asked if Deoch was 6 1/2 feet tall and Pat said that Deoch isn't that tall; but NotWc54 states that Deoch is at least 6 1/2 feet tall.
Jo Walton
48. bluejo
Aesculpius -- yes, you're right, we should be wary of folly.

Everyone -- I just read the Bast novella, and wow. So I will be writing about it in the kind of insane detail to which we have become accustomed.
thistle pong
49. thistlepong
re: bluejo@48 (and there was much rejoicing)
Everyone -- I just read the Bast novella, and wow. So I will be writing about it in the kind of insane detail to which we have become accustomed.
For folks who have not read it, a teaser (the beginning) has been posted at Pat's Fantasy Hotlist:
Bruce Wilson
50. Aesculapius
The teaser is everything I would expect it to be.

Must get Rogues...!
thistle pong
51. thistlepong
Edit: wow, this entire thing got eaten... I suppose I'll take a crack at reconstructing it as time permits...

I found the summary jumbles did of the Fela card:
Modeg is very insular.
There is very little travel between towns in Modeg.
It is implied that Denna is not from Modeg. At the very least she doesn't look like she's from Modeg.*
Modeg was never conquered by the Aturan Empire and so has its own religion.**
Women are more equal to men in Modeg.
Women in Modeg are often educators.
Scenes from classical education could include Teccam in his cave or Feltemi Reis teaching the Gallocians (spelling?) how to be bastards.

*this came up when Shane wanted to differentiate Fela from Denna

**this is essentially what he said at a signing in 2011 and has been lately reinforced by his comments about the Pairs deck and the bit of The Tale of Laniel Young Again he's shared

Fela's skin tone is characteristic of Modegans. They are non-white. Other than this card and the descriptor "dusky," however, Pat hasn't provided a definite reference point.

The Hearts are, quite honestly, lovers. Stanchion and Deoch are an obvious, and bold, choice for the king. Simmon and Fela are also perfect choices, both for their reltionship to one another and their connection to Kvothe. Simmon is literally the only person in the series that he's expressed love for. And Fela, in addition to being the most beautiful woman at the University, made repeated and unacknowledged advances toward him.

The Spades are, if you will, double edged. ImRhoven@10 came upon this independently, but Pat noted that they're often the cards you either really want or really don't. Bast's secrecy, the difference between Kvothe the Arcan and Kvothe Kingkiller, and Denna's mystery all fit nicely.

Oh. Stanchion is holding a coin between his fingers. It was initially supposed to be a talent but the coloring suggests it's a mark.
John Graham
52. JohnPoint
Thistle @49: Wow! Thanks. That's fantastic. Can't wait until June 17!

Based on the beginning that you linked, I'm assuming/predicting/guessing that "The Lightning Tree" takes place the same day as NotW Ch1 ("A Place for Demons"). That will be quite helpful...
thistle pong
53. thistlepong

That was my first thought as well, so, subjectively, great catch. However, folks who have read it suggest it takes place before that day. At this point I'm inclined to believe them. There's definitely enough there to dig into when Jo posts about it.
54. kingkillerthriller
I'm just curious how all these people have been able to read the Bast story already?

There have been several Reddit posts and a snippet published on the internet.

Speculations as to when the story takes place already as well.
John Graham
55. JohnPoint
Thistlepong @53 -- good to know; I hadn't seen anything elsewhere about it. Whether it takes place at the same time as the beginning of D1 or before, it should be great, and have a whole lot of relevant information.

kingkillerthriller@54 -- I'd guess that the people who have read it might include: 1) other authors in the compilation, 2) people who were provided with ARCs in order to write reviews or blurbs, 3) anyone doing illustrations for the stories in the book and 4) possibly Pat's beta-readers. I'm not sure that there are really that many people who have read it yet, but several (including Jo) have.
Andrew Mason
56. AnotherAndrew
Regarding Modeg: has it ever been established which hemsiphere (or equivalent, if the world is not a sphere) the Four Corners are in? It strikes me as interesting that the homelands of the dark-skinned people (that we know of) are in the North.
Kate Hunter
57. KateH
The KKC has contaminated my world, and colonized my mind. I can't watch the following without pondering the implications for the rest of Kvothe's story:

What happens when you drop a magnet through a copper tube?

(And yeah, this has nothing to do with the cards, but I'm guessing the video at the above link will intrigue more than a few here. Hmmm...lodenstones.)
John Graham
58. JohnPoint
AnotherAndrew@56: Definitively, no we don't. However, we do know the sun rises in the east and sets in the west (e.g., when Kvothe is in the Fishery to meet with Kilvin early in the morning, he is surprised to see sunlight coming in the low eastern windows. Also, in Trebon, Kvothe and Denna watch the sun set behind the western mountains.) It is implied that the sun is to the south, and it's stated that the weather during the winter is warmer to the south (the fall after the Troupe is killed, Kvothe moves south for warmer weather once the lute strings break), so we can predict that it's the equivalent of a northern hemisphere, but nothing certain as far as I'm aware.
Carl Banks
59. robocarp

I had the same thoughts before, that maybe it gets warmer as you go further north in 4C. The weather is temperate in Tarbean and Imre, but they grow limes in Tinue which is further north than both. Ceald and Modeg people have darker skin.

However, Kvothe at one point quite explicitly says the weather gets warmer further south as a child, right when he decides to head for Tarbean.


I totally wouldn't mind if you spoiled some completely useless and irrelevant thing right here.
jum bles
60. jumbles
Just noticed that the Pairs card has some new -to me anyway- samples of the cards. The Faen deck is where the new samples interests me the most. Since this is about a product yet to be released and isn't strictly on topic, I'll white out the bulk of the post. Just highlight if you want to read it.

The #3 card is Bast.
The Tehlins are called "Chainers"
The Tehlins are present at the revelry in one of the #9 cards. I can't quite make out what they're doing. Maybe they're playing?
Another #9 card has something with hooves and an animal's head. Maybe this is what Bast really looks like since that one baby called him a dog?
The #10 card which may show the Cthaeh's tree is labelled as "Dayward"

EDIT: It may not be really necessary for me to white the text out. Just did it in case people don't want the cards spoiled. I don't think there's anything in there very spoilery about the story.
61. Tiki
I believe the flair separating Bast's card is a pair of holly crowns. That's the best I can think of, anyway.
62. E.N. Weiry
I remember watching the drawing livestreams and Pat and Shane were *very* particular about what cards are in what suits from a thematic perspective. They drew a lot on the history and evolution of the suits from things like Tarot cards. As well as more modern things, for example the Queen of Spades is often the best card, or the worst card, to have, depending on the game whcih plays off "Is Denna good or bad for Kvothe?" which really depends on what game they are playing...

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