May 15 2014 11:00am

Rothfuss Reread: What Can We Learn From The Name of the Wind Playing Cards? (Part 3)

Patrick Rothfuss The Name of the Wind playing cards 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.

We’re still considering the Albino Dragon playing cards, produced with the close cooperation of Pat Rothfuss.

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 we considered the box, and the spades and hearts, let’s move on to the other two suits!

Clubs are the “lute suit” and the lute is specifically identified on the Kickstarter page as “Arliden’s lute.”

The Ace is another allegorical picture. There’s a club, with the words “Like a dying dream” on scrolls. There’s Arliden’s lute, smashed in the street in Tarbean. There’s a waystone with something sitting on it—an owl? Could it be? And in the background, there’s a crescent, the same one as on the box, and the cloud is in front of it. Hmm.

The 2 has the falling feather.

The 3 has the little plant with drifting leaves.

The 4 has the thing I think is Kvothe’s thief’s lamp.

The 5 has the candle.

The 6 has the pile of books.

The 7 is new—3 iron drabs!

The 8 is the quill in an inkwell.

The 9 is the lute.

And the 10 is the thief lamp again—twice in the same suit!

The Jack is Kvothe, very different in the two sides as two aspects. In one he’s juggling balls of light in front of an Edema Ruh wagon in a purple twilight landscape, with two people watching him. He’s young and red-headed. There is no visible moon. In the other he has his hands over his face, in a pose of despair. Behind him there’s a cobblestone wall, and through a door we can see a well lit room with a table and chair.

These are interesting Kvothe images for the “lute suite” because he isn’t playing the lute in either one. One is triumph and the other is disaster, but I can’t recognise either of them as specific moments in NW. I’d say K definitely does belong in this suit.

And the swag here is fascinating—a lit candle and an unlit one. A candle radiating light and one radiating darkness. I think we’ve seen one of those somewhere before, and here it is with Kvothe. Fascinating.

The Queen—I thought initially that it was D, but Thistlepong says it’s Laurian, aka Netalia Lackless, aka Kvothe’s mom. It’s two different images again. In one, everything is burning in blue fire, clouds are behind the crescent moon, and she is running away with her arms out. I can’t see any Chandrian, unfortunately, I’d love to see some. (On the card. Not in reality. “What’s your plan?” I’d gasp out, instead of running outside to hide.)

On the other half she’s singing and happy and the lights are normal and clouds are in front of a half moon. But it seems to be otherwise the same, trees and the wagon are in the same place. Guess it’s just a general camp thing. The swag is the same, light and dark candle.

And the King is Arliden, again doubled. In the light one he’s singing and happy, in the dark one there’s blue fire and he seems to be waving farewell. He has his lute in both, but there’s no moon in either, just purple clouds. And the swag is the same here too.

Now Kvothe, Laurian, and Arliden are definitely a family and belong together in the same suit, and in the “lute suit” too.

And diamonds, the “Kilvin’s lamp” suit.

The ace has a diamond with a hanging globe of ever burning lamp, with the words “Music is a fine thing but metal lasts”. There’s a half moon behind, with no cloud on it, and it looks like a “real” moon, as if the other half of the globe is there. The diamond is set in an anvil, with wood and water and hills behind.

All of the diamonds have the dangling lamp in them.

The 2 has the falling feather.

The 3 has the pile of books.

The 4 has the waystone.

The 5 has the drabs.

The 6 has the quill and inkwell.

The 7 has the lute.

The 8 has the plant.

The 9 has the sword, and it has an unusual pattern of distribution of diamonds.

The 10 has the coin that’s visible on the box flap, with the wreathed head.

The Jack is Ambrose, mirrored. He’s wearing purple and has a big hat with a feather, a flower (carnation?) in his hand and a scowl on his face. He has dark hair and a beard. Behind him are houses—probably Imre, or maybe around the University, there are shop signs. And in the swag are two crossed swords and a copper jot—clever!

The Queen is Devi, mirrored. She has a bookshelf behind her, and a curtained window. She’s smiling, and wearing a pendant and a low cut dress, and she has something in her hand—a glass vial of blood? A pen? A cigarette? In the swag is a candle, a retort, scales, and something—an abacus? All these things look alchemical to me.

And the King is Kilvin, dark skinned, scowling, with his ever-burning globed burning behind his head. He’s holding something metallic and examining it. he’s extremely burly and he has his sleeves rolled up. In the swag is an anvil and some tools.

Do Ambrose, Devi and Kilvin fit as a family? They certainly all fit with diamonds, coins, sygaldry, alchemy, and all of that. They don’t fit together, they aren’t friends, and they don’t have the same kinds of relationship with Kvothe. Ambrose is an enemy, and Devi is ambivalent and Kilvin is a mentor.

And that’s the whole set—except for the extra cards!

There’s Willem, playing cards—dark skin, beard, purple waistcoat, cards held in both hands. He has a bottle of beer. There are three unrecognisable people in the background.

There’s a card with a real world C.14 Benedictine curse on bookstealers, and a black and white illustration of Lorren in his study, frowning, with books. It’s lovely.

There are two jokers, Elodin and Auri. Elodin is based on Neil Gaiman, and shows him barefoot on the roof at the moment Kvothe jumps off. I think Elodin as a joker makes perfect sense. In the background is green grass and distant trees and a blue cloud streaked sky.

Auri’s also somebody famous, but not anyone I recognise. She’s also on a roof, at night, with a full moon in the sky and a piece of cloth beside her with tiny treasures on it. She looks poised to run. We can see the skyline of the University buildings behind her. Can’t wait for the Auri story!

And that’s it. We’ll resume our regular intermittent posts.

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.

Andrew Mason
2. AnotherAndrew
I'm glad I'm not the only person who got confused about Laurian and Denna. Is Rothfuss trying to signal to us that they look alike?
3. Marco.
There is *someone* in the Laurian print.

In front of the wagon, with sword. on brow?
4. Marco.
Also, happy wagon on one side, burning on the other. I think it's meant to be the night she died.
Jordan Frandsen
5. jorgecuervos
The Jack card with Kvothe shows him crying after the attack in the inn. Chronicler is in the background helping someone with his will. Kvothe goes out back of his inn and weeps over the loss of townspeople or from the family that comes in as he assumes responsibility for the little-known, big impact war that is going on in 4C land.
Daniel Posey
6. dposey
View details for a print and click on picture to enlarge.

Can see a Chandrian and Ambrose has a rose, which is typical.
Steven Halter
7. stevenhalter
In the Laurian print at:
you can clearly see a pair of legs draped over a log. In the car it is blocked by the clubs symbol. Laurian is crying and looks to be beseeching someone. There is a figure with a sword and the blue flames are clear.
8. Rich C
I mentioned this on the previous thread, but on the Laurien card, on the happy half, there appears to be a large wild animal (mountain lion?) standing in the background, near the tree, with glowing eyes.
Robert Dickinson
9. ChocolateRob
Ambrose is based on Jim Butcher, Author of the Dresden Files.
Aurie is based on Felicia Day as the first poster said. She is probably best known for Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog (chin up Billy buddy).

Devi is holding a pin for the blood to go in the vial.

The corner picture on both the twos is leaves, not feathers.

I'd say that Kvothe's parents looked sad rather than scared on the burning sides, perhaps they're being seen as recently deceased spirits. The blue light/flames lend a very ghostly look to the scene.
10. Marco.
My assumption on the Kvothe crying card is that it's the scene right after the tells the story of his parents death:
Eventually he stopped completely and stood for a long minute, still as stone. Only then did his composurebreak. And even with no one there to see, he hid his face in his hands and wept quietly, his bodywracked with wave on wave of heavy, silent sobs.
Jordan Frandsen
11. jorgecuervos
That is the scene I was probably thinking of. I knew he went out back for a cry, couldn't exactly remember when.
Roland of Gilead
12. pKp
Re: Queen of Clubs (Laurian/Natalia) : if you look at it here (second picture), you can clearly see someone in front of her burning wagon. They have a sword and white hair. I'm pretty sure that's Cinder. So we do have a Chandrian.

The six others are in the background of Arliden's card, with one standing in front of the others - probably Haliax.
Roland of Gilead
13. pKp
Oh, and neat little detail on Bast's card: his eyes aren't the same in the two side - one has him with normal eyes, the other with Faen solid-blue ones.
14. kingkillerthriller
Modeg cards are awesome, and leave me with so many questions.
Evgeni Kirilov
15. ArgentSun
A noteworthy piece of trivia is that Arliden's and Laurian's cards are meant to be complementary - they sing a duet in the "happy" half, and reach for each other in the "sad" one. Put the cards together, you'll see it.

Another thing I randomly just noticed is that the Jack of Clubs (young Kvothe / crying Kvothe) is slightly different on the website than it is in print. My card, which comes from the deck itself, doesn't have the Chronicler and Bast in the background of the "crying" half.
jum bles
16. jumbles
Rich C@8: I think mountain lions have longer bodies than that. It looks more like a wolf to me.

A note on the lute. Arliden's lute is not the same lute that is featured on the back of the cards or on the Ace of hearts. That lute has a lion head. Arliden's lute has the head of some bird of prey, and I can't help but notice that Lord Greyfallow's poker chip also has a bird of prey on it. His poker chip also has a crescent moon.

Auri's treasures are Taborlin's tools: key, candle, and coin. She is also out on the roof during a time she doesn't like to be. There is a full moon and a clear sky. She doesn't like going on the roof when there's a lot of moon, she doesn't like the open sky, and she likes it when it's cloudy (NotWc53).

The Ace of clubs looks like it could be on the Great Stone Road. And a note on the Great Stone Road, I think it is supposed to be perfectly straight since "Stonebridge rose ahead of us: two hundred feet from end to end, with a high arch that peaked five stories above the river. It was part of the Great Stone Road, straight as a nail, flat as a table, and older than God" (WMFc36). The flat as a table can't refer to the bridge since it has a high arch, so straight as a nail and flat as a table must refer to the road. This suggests that their world is round since the map makes the road look curved. Thanks to Valyrian for suggesting this in comment 76 of part 1 of these playing card posts.

I didn't see the Chandrian on Arliden's card mentioned here, so I'll just point out there are six of them on his card. At least I assume they're Chandrian.

And the moon phases are different on every Ace.
Spades: Full
Hearts: 1st Quarter
Diamonds: 3rd Quarter
Clubs: Waning Crescent
I wonder if the moon phases occur in the same order over there as they do for us?
John Graham
17. JohnPoint
jumbles @16 re Stonebridge:

I actually think that the "straight as a nail, flat as a table" does refer to the bridge, not necessarily to the road. The bridge is straight across the river, not curved or bent at all. (We're used to modern bridges being straight most of the time, but this wasn't always the case.) The "flat as a table" refers to the paving of the bridge -- side to side, it is flat. No worn ruts on the bridge, no uneven stones, etc.

I agree that "flat as a table" and a "high arch" are a bit awkward together, but I also think that the construction of the sentence means that the list refers to the bridge, not the road.

ETA: But I'm not sure, and could see the quote refer to the road, not the bridge. The curve on the map could certainly be an effect of the planar projection, as discussed before. The other thing that makes me question this is that the section on the "Great Stone Road" on the map (as linked in the header above) says:
...while the Aturan Empire claims to have built the Great Stone Road, any historian worth his salt knows this is patently untrue. While at the peak of it's power, Atur certainly did much to improve the road, cobbling large sections of it, but old records clearly show the road existed long before Atur was an empire. In fact, the road seems to have existed long before Atur was even a country, or there was even a city of that name. Truthfully, its origins are lost in the dim reaches of pre-history, and therefore speculation on that subject is better left to storytellers than any self-respecting historian.
The fact that the Aturan empire cobbled large sections of the road makes me wonder whether it is actually "straight as a nail" and "flat as a table" across the entire several thousand mile stretch...
jum bles
18. jumbles
Ah, that's a good quote for this. I still think the straight as a nail and flat as a table refer to the road, but they may not be 100% true; the road just has a reputation and is close enough to being those things compared to the other roads.

ETA: We can clearly see on the tuck box that the road isn't straight.
John Graham
19. JohnPoint
Re the GSR on the tuck box: that's a good counterpoint too, though personally, I think that the artwork on the box maintains artistic license and is meant to be allegorical, not literal. For instance, the bridge on the box also doesn't have nearly as high of an arch as is stated and implied in the text. (This also raises the question of whether we can use the clouds behind the moon as evidence that the moon is in the atmosphere, or whether it is intended to show that part of the moon is *literally* missing when it's not full.)
jum bles
20. jumbles
I completely agree about the artwork not being literal. We know the river is used for shipping. No ship carrying cargo or passengers would be able to make it through there. The water is too shallow and if the water-level rose the bridge would be too low.

Part of the moon is definitely supposed to be missing when not full. During the Kickstarter videos they discussed that. To the best of my knowledge they never discussed the moon being in the atmosphere, though.
21. Trollfot
Have we discussed the possibility of Auri cracking due to a Fae visit?
22. maybem
I don't know if anybody has mentioned this yet, but one of the things Albino Dragon sells is this coin here, which is called Elodin's Question and contains a clear image of the moon with a star visible through the "dark" part. Elodin's Question, being, of course "Where does the moon go when it is no longer in our sky."
Jo Walton
23. bluejo
Or even the question about the synodic period. So very very clever.
24. Tap
So out of curiosity, why don't you display all of the cards so we can tell what you're talking about rather than just one of two?
thistle pong
25. thistlepong

Reckon they don't own the images. Also reckon a gallery has been linked in the last four posts. Here's one RR:WCWL2.
Bruce Wilson
26. Aesculapius
We discussed a few things about the Laurian and Arliden cards towards the end of the last thread; I won't re-post it all but here's quick summary of the comments:
The paired nature of both the light and dark pictures -- dancing and singing together in the light; fearful and reaching for each other in the dark. The final camp, before and during the Chandrian attack...?
The obvious blue flames in both dark cards.
The six hooded figures behind Arliden and one with sword drawn behind Laurian, presumably all seven Chandrian, with the one being Cinder...?
The quadruped with bright eyes in the background of Laurian's dark pic.
The absence of Arliden's beard -- which is definitely mentioned in the text.
The allegorical rather than truly representative nature of the pictures.
Bruce Wilson
27. Aesculapius
Edited -- redundant comment, sorry...!

Now very much anticipating The Lightning Tree and The Slow Regard of Silent Things.
28. Marco.
I keep coming back to the Laurian card and the figure in the background. If you go to the albino dragon website and look at the print, and then mouse over it to blow it up there appears to be a bright white spot on his forehead. This is similar to the Kvothe/Felurian fight where his power was "like a star on his brow".

This got me thinking of what the chronicler said to Kote to try and drag his story out along th e lines of: " some say there is a new Chandrain". Previously, I had always dismissed this as Chronicler just trying to be persuasive, but seeing Kvothe and the Chandrain exhibit similar behavior casts it in a new light for me.

After all, for people to identify K as a Chandrain, he'd need to exhibit some sort of Chandrain like characteristics, yes? Up until now I had trouble identifying any, because all we know about the Chandrain is that they show up and kill you when you say their names, make things rust, and turn fire blue.

I suspect forehead star wouldn't be enough, so Kvothe would have to do something else to be identified as a Chandrain. Killing a guy in the town square doesn't seem to rise to the level of supernatural baddie bent on murder.

Has anything else (attributable to Kvothe) been foreshadowed that would be bad enough to earn him membership in the club in the eyes of the masses?
Rob Core
29. robtcore
Off topic from the cards, but it seems the most recent post is usually the best place to add general comments.
Possibly for the department of imaginary linguistics? It's about Bast and the term "Reshi." I did a quick search, and didn't see it discussed before.

An odd connection jumped out at me while I was looking at Doug Henning's wikipedia page (long story, if you care for boring details, PM me).
Henning was a TM enthusiast, which was founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. I knew the first word is a title, and that "Maha" is a prefix meaning "Great."
I looked up "rishi" and according to Wikipedia it refers to "an inspired poet of ?gvedic hymns, who alone invokes the deities with poetry," and "Post-Vedic tradition regards the Rishis as 'sages' or saints, constituting a peculiar class of human beings who have received enlightenment direct from God, in some cases Rishis may also refer to abrahamic prophets as mentioned in the earliest Vedas."

I know we've talked about how Pat seems to take inspiration from real world languages. In addition to "teacher" that we've talked about before, I think there's a case to be made for it to be "Poet".

(Which sends me down great rabbit holes involving his sword, expressed feeling on poetry, and the lack of music in the Waystone. . . )
Rob Core
30. robtcore
AAAAND I just realized I only searched blog posts, not comments.

It's been covered before in Speculative Summary 20: Watching his Master by both Valgaroth and Pykus.

Nothing new under the sun, alas.

Here's the search I found it on (with which I discovered it?):
Carl Banks
31. robocarp

Unlikely that Kvothe actually is a Chandrian because of the prologue and epilogue to the first two days, that claimed that Kvothe was a man waiting to die. A Chandrian can't die so if Kvothe were one that's not what he'd have been waiting for.

You know it's spelled "Chandr ia n" (I before A), right?
jum bles
32. jumbles
I think Haliax is the only Chandrian that is said to be unable to die. The others seem to have long lives, but I don't think anything says they actually can't die.

ETA: And Trapis' story says that only one life doesn't end in death. Though it is unclear if his story takes place before or after the Chandrian were created. Also unclear how much of his story is accurate.
33. Marco.
My spelling is a constant embarrassment to my friends and family. :)

To be clear, I don't think Kvothe actually is a Chandrian - my concern is around why people would say he is.

The seven are mythical undead, cursed for all time, who appear in the night to kill you if you say their name.

Kvothe kills a king. This makes him an assassin. Seems to fall somewhat short. What could he have done to rise to their level in the eyes of the public?
John Graham
34. JohnPoint
Marco @33 --

- Kills a king via all sorts of "powerful magics" which:
- Sets off a war that:
- Releases all sorts of fell beasts ("demons") on the world and:
- Blurs the lines between reality and story.

Kvothe takes the responsibility for starting the whole war (whether it is his fault or not is a separate question). If others trace the war to him, and recognize the blurring between the Mortal and the Fae realms, it makes sense that this would be somewhat comparable to the Chandrian. Particularly in the eyes of someone (like an Arcanist) who knows more about the Chandrian than just the children's rhymes and folk superstition. The Chronicler doesn't indicate that the belief is (necessarily) widespread. As you say, he just says "Some say there is a new Chandrian..." In this case, "some" could refer to just a few people.
jum bles
35. jumbles
Five things:

1. I just noticed something very interesting near the end of WMFc45. Kvothe says, "All the way the winter wind chilled the iron around my hands and feet until it burned and bit and froze my skin." That's cold iron hurting Kvothe. Cold iron is said to be effective against demons. In fact the exact same wording is used when Encanis was bound in iron, "Encanis thrashed on the wheel and began to howl as the iron burned and bit and froze him" (NotWc23). We know Kvothe works with iron with no trouble, and even cold iron doesn't bother him when his gram is chilled by an attack. Also, Chronicler sees Bast's true form but notices nothing about Kvothe.

2. Regarding Selitos=Cthaeh: Lanre binds Selitos so that he cannot move or speak, but can still see. Sounds a lot like the Cthaeh's current situation except Cthaeh can speak now.

3. The above lumps seeing, speaking, and moving together. El'the could mean Mover. I don't really see any significance there, though...

4. "Without her, Lanre's life was nothing but a burden, and the power he had taken up lay like a hot knife in his mind" (NotWc26). That's another bit a wording that matches Encanis. "Encanis, whose voice was like a knife in the minds of men" (NotWc23).

5. The Waystone Inn could be Jax's old broken house. From Hespe's story:
lived in an old house at the end of a broken road ... What can you expect of a boy who lives alone in a broken house at the end of a broken road? ... This was something of a surprise, because the road was broken, so nobody ever used it ... The tinker looked up at the huge old house, one short step away from being a mansion.
So Jax's first house was old, broken, huge, and almost a mansion. The road was broken and unused.
The description of the road outside the Waystone Inn:
Footprints of lamplight from the inn's windows fell across the dirt road and the doors of the smithy across the way. It was not a large road, or well traveled. It didn't seem to lead anywhere, as some roads do.
Sounds similar to the broken road. And large houses or mansions are sometimes used as inns. I can't recall the Waystone Inn being described as old or broken though.
Another combination of broken road and broken house occurs when Kvothe fights the scrael near Newarre:
... he was still on the road when night fell, making the rutted dirt road a stumbling ground of half-seen shapes ... It was a bonfire roaring in the ruins of an old house, little more than two crumbling stone walls.
The road sounds like it may be in disrepair, which might pass for broken; and the house is definitely described as broken and old. But this house seems to lack the importance for being Jax's house.
And lastly, for those that believe that Skarpi/Sceop is the tinker that met Jax: Sceop "was going from nowhere to nowhere" (WMFc37). The first nowhere could be Newarre; the second was later revealed to be Tinue. If he was leaving Newarre and Jax's old house, then the Waystone could be it. It would also make sense that Skarpi finds Kvothe before anyone else if he lived there and maybe still has contacts there.
36. janniek
In part 2 on the playing cards people mentioned the detailed images of the cards on the website of Albino Dragon so I went there and looked at them and noticed that some of those cards are different from mine!

For example Bast has normal eyes on both sides of my card.
And on the waystone side of the jack of clubs the table in the other room is empty. Bast and Chronicler are not sitting there.

I thought there was only one version of the cards.. I have a limited edition deck and live in the Netherlands and a friend of mine has exactly the same cards.
I am confused. Does any of you have an idea?
Alf Bishai
37. greyhood
@28 What if K.'s Chandrian sign is...silence.
thistle pong
38. thistlepong
A little snippet of Four Corners history appears in the upcoming Pairs rulebook:
Pairs exists in one form or another throughout the civilized world, from Vintas and the Commonwealth to the farthest corners of the small kingdoms. In his seminal history, The Chains of Empire*, Etregan speculated that the game originated in Atur, and was spread by conquest, Just as Atur brought rule of law, common language, and a standardized system of time-keeping to the lands it subjugated.

Many scholars disagree, citing as evidence Modegan decks that appear to predate Atur's expansion by more than 400 years. Others point out iconography in Aturan decks that predates the empire and seems to originate in pre-plague Caluptena. The game's origin seems lost to history, with countless regions having their own decks and variations of play.
Nothing, like, earth shattering there, but it does make the game as old or slightly older than the earliest surviving mention of the Loeclos family name. And it marks pre-plague and post-plague eras for Caluptena.

* not to be confused with Araman Ashbride's monograph "Shackles of Empire," Feltemi Reis's Fall of Empire, or Greggor the Lesser's The Fall of Empire
39. angledge
Guys, I'm going to Pat's reading/signing event in Austin tonight. What question should I ask (if he's answering questions)?? It's got to be something he might actually feel like he could answer....
John Graham
41. JohnPoint
thistle@38 -- Interesting. My first question is: What iconography on the Aturan deck (presumably the standard NotW deck) seems to originate in pre-plague Caluptena? The back of the cards has a stone dolmen and holly (and the crescent-moon-with-star that seems to verify once again that the moon is actually missing parts), so those are possibilities. I also still harbor a suspicion that the calamities cards represent the Chandrian and their signs, so that could also relate to Caluptenan iconography. Maybe the stylized sun on the card back...?

Otherwise, I can't see anything that definitely appears to be pre-Aturan. Now the Faen and Modegan decks, on the other hand...
Jerry Grzeskiewicz
42. SwordOfMidAfternoon
Bast story in "Rogues" is MOST excellent. I was worried that he'd mail this one in as well, but my worries were groundless. What a painful tease for Day3.
Fae and magic insights a-plenty.
43. Ryan H
So good! Bring on the re-read!
44. Goldfrapp
Bast is totally the "demon" summoned by Kvothe.
His name rings like a bell when spoken by Kvothe in the Lightning Tree.
45. Ryan H
What's the spoiler policy for The Lightning Tree in this thread?
thistle pong
46. thistlepong
Ryan H @45

Jo indicated she'd be doing a post about "The Lightning Tree." Prolly just givin' folks some time to read it. While there's no spoiler policy other than that the posts and the comments will contain all kinds of spoilers, chances are we'll all get more out of the discussion when that post goes up.
47. Goldfrapp
My apologies for the amatuer mistake. I'm just very excited.
jum bles
48. jumbles
I just noticed that the Name of the Wind Pairs deck has been specified to be a Commonwealth deck.

ETA: And these decks are supposed to be ones that people in the four corners would actually use. Does that mean that the Faen would use the Faen deck? If so that would mean that Bastas, Remmen, Kvothe, Auri, Elodin, Tehlins, and tinkers are all important to the Fae.
Andrew Mason
49. AnotherAndrew
Has it been said that all these decks are actually from Kvothe's world, or only that the standard one is?

In any case, I'm guessing that the iconography Rothfuss is referring to is not on any deck we can see - note he just says 'Aturan decks', which could mean some specific ones, not all of them.

Will the be a post about the Pairs decks? There seems to be enough in them to make one worthwhile.
50. satyreyes
Viewed from the ground, airplanes pass behind low clouds but in front of high ones.
Jeremy Raiz
51. Jezdynamite
If a "reputable cover story" was needed to cover up the real reason for burning down Caluptena, avoiding the spread of plague would fit nicely.
Carl Banks
52. robocarp
Jezdynamite @ 51

It would be, but that would make the phrase "pre-plague Caluptena" redundant. (Although the I guess "pre-plague" could just be descriptive.)
Jeremy Raiz
53. Jezdynamite
Hi robocarp @52

I'm not sure why it would be redundant. Post-plague Caluptena would be Caluptena-in-ashes. I think I'm missing some sort of obvious insight.

Similar to the Great fire of London in 1666, which took place 12 months after the Great plague hit London.
Carl Banks
54. robocarp
Jezdynamite @ 53

It's redundant because things like iconograpy can't really originate in a place after it's been destroyed. If Caluptena was destroyed soon after the plague, then any time someone says something originated in Caluptena, it would all but imply pre-plague; hence it's redundant to say "pre-plague Caluptena".
55. grinachu
Does Arliden's lute have 8 strings? Am I miscounting?
John Graham
56. JohnPoint
Grinachu @55 -- Not sure what you're looking at, but I see 7 tuning pegs on the lute-in-club motif (the white dots at the top of the lute, inside the upper "bulb" of the club). I do see 8 frets (the horizontal black lines across the neck of the lute), so perhaps that's what you're counting?
Jeremy Raiz
57. Jezdynamite

Thanks. I see what you mean.
Would you say this is accurate for our timeline (based on dates already in our timeline)?

Plague Caluptena
-1000: Aturan empire starts
Caluptena burned down
-300 to -200: Aturan empire collapses
Jeremy Raiz
58. Jezdynamite
In terms of the location of Caluptena, would this imply that Caluptena is in Atur:

"Others point out iconography in Aturan decks that predates the empire and seems to originate in pre-plague Caluptena."

i.e. I assume that the mentioned "Aturan Pairs decks" would likely have Aturan iconography. Looking at Faen/Modegan decks, they have Faen/Modegan iconography.

Pity we don't have an Aturan deck to look at.
Carl Banks
59. robocarp
Jezdynamite @ 57

I'd say the wording strongly implies plague in Caluptena was before the Aturan empire began, yes.

But is there any good evidence to put the Caluptena burning after Atur was founded? I am suspicious that both the plague and the burning of Caluptena happened before the Aturan empire, and that Atur is built on Caluptena's ruins. It actually makes a lot of sense: the church got concerned that Caluptena was starting to uncover secrets and burned it down, then built its own city in the ruins.
Jeremy Raiz
60. Jezdynamite

No good evidence that I can find in both texts. Only guesswork and assumptions that I can see (and, good ones at that).

I can't find anything concrete to corroborate the age of the University either, other than some references to it being (1) old, (2) built on ancient ruins, and (c) that a courtyard at the University was called "Quoyan Hayel" (the House of Wind) long ago when folk spoke differently.

One point: If Caluptena was burned over 1000+ years ago, I wonder if there's a reason why it would take staff/students at the university over a 1000+ years to translate the rescued objects. Unless they've forgotten the rescued objects over time, deemed them unimportant or perhaps (drum roll) the university is purposefully not translating them.
thistle pong
61. thistlepong
robocarp@59 (and Jez@60)
But is there any good evidence to put the Caluptena burning after Atur was founded?
Yes. There are, like, six mentions of Caluptena. The evidence suggests it was burned by the church within the Imperial period, probably early on. Caudicus's genealogy speculates that records of the Lackless might go back further than nine hundred years "if not for the burning of Caluptena."

We know the establishment church itself extends back about a thoussand years both because that's how far their records go and via Trapis's rough estimate. And there's this:
“The University has the most open-minded atmosphere since the church burned Caluptena to the ground."

Like a lot this stuff, it has to be cobbled together from multiple data points. We can get a good idea about the church and the Lackless and the Empire. And we can use that to get a rough idea for when Caluptena burned.
Carl Banks
62. robocarp
((Edit: I added a few paragraphs based on suggestions by JohnPoint, jumbles, and BigVik. Updates marked with a *.))

I was bored, so I decided to collect everything we know about Creation War cities and list it here. There are three main sources of information on CW cities: ancient stories, modern place names, and Denna's travels.

Ancient Stories

There were eight ancient cities named by Skarpi: Antus, Belen, Emlen, Tinusa, Vaeret, Murilla, Murella, and Myr Tariniel. Felurian corraborates that there was a city called Murella; Shehyn, Denna, and Bast corraborate that there is a city called Myr Tariniel or something similar. We'll take the rest of the names as given; Skarpi had no reason to lie about this detail.

According to Skarpi, Myr Tariniel was a city about the size of Tarbean (so probably at least a few hundred thousand) in the mountains approachable only from a few directions that were easily guarded. It is the home city of Selitos and the angel Kirel. Skarpi describes it as an idyllic mountain town; Denna describes it as an overpopulated warren.

The main thing we know about Murella is that it had walls that existed before the Creation War began (Felurian sat upon them eating silver fruit).

Belen seems to be the home city of Lanre and Lyra, and is known to be the home city of the angel Geisa. It had walls during the Creation War which fell during the Betrayal.

After the Betrayal, Selitos looked out and saw six smoke plumes, but expected to see seven. This suggests that the other seven cities were all on the same side of the ridge that Myr Tariniel sits on; however we have to be careful of this for two reasons: 1. Selitos looking in only one direction is a minor detail in a story about something else, by a storyteller who implies that he sometimes exaggerates, and 2. Selitos has the gift of Sight and for all we know could be able to look at both sides of the ridge simultaneously. Nevertheless, lacking any better information on geography, it seems reasonable for this to be a working assumption. Also it matches modern information well (see below).

One other clue about geography comes from Hespe. Jax follows the moon eastward on a long road until he comes to a mountain pass and talks to a hermit that has a similar worldview to Selitos (emphasizing things like Listening and Sight). This would match the geography of the 4C map if Myr Tariniel was in the Stormwal mountains at the end of the Great Stone Road.

Surviving City

One of the eight cities survived the Betrayal: This is agreed by both Skarpi and Shehyn. It's open question which city it is.

It's known that Belen and Myr Tariniel both fell, so it's not them.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no direct evidence that Tinuë is the surviving city, although it's certainly the most obvious guess. Facts suggesting Tinuë could be the surviving city: 1. It has a similar name to the CW-era city Tinusa (however, this is true for other cities as well, as we'll see), 2. it's the most famous city in modern 4C (I would guess Tinuë is the most often mentioned city in the novels that Kvothe hasn't been to), and 3. it's used in a modern phrase which seems like something that might arise from a Creation War story. However, this is all circumstantial evidence. Meta-evidence is the fact that the city's name is spelled like the last two syllables of "continue", so it could be a clue that it's the city that continued.

There is another chain of logic suggesting that the surviving city is in Yll. According to Elodin, they were tying Yllish knots (a true form of writing) in Yll while other peoples were scratching pictures on animal skins. This means that Yll was civilized earlier than other parts of the 4C. One explanation for this is that the surviving city was in Yll and maintained civilization continuously since the Creation War, whereas civilization was lost then slowly regained elsewhere.

* One other possibilty for a surviving city is Caluptena, mainly because it is old (pre-Aturan-Empire) and was a bastion of knowledge. We don't know much about Caluptena, though; especially not where it is. It had a plague at some point (whether it was confined to Caluptena isn't certain), it has the oldest surviving written works other than Yllish knots, and was burned by the Tehlin church probably no more than 900 years ago. And it has little resemblance to the ancient city names.

Modern Evidence

There are some modern geographical clues, mainly places that have names similar to the Creation War cities.

Denna seems to have been visiting the old Creation War cities. Soon after she meets up with Kvothe in Tarbean near the end of WMF, she tells Kvothe about the cities she'd seen: Tinuë, Vartheret, and Andenivan. All three cities have names resembling a CW city (namely Tinusa, Vaeret, Antus). Furthermore, this is what we might call a superfluous detail: Kote (and PR) could have just said, "She told me about the cities she'd seen." and left it that, which would have very little effect on the story. You have to be careful, of course: this could just be a case of "worldbuilding" or merely a little detail to add flavor to the narrative, but I'd still say it makes it likely that this is actually a clue.

Earlier, in Severen, Denna told Kvothe that she'd been all over the world digging up pieces of the Lanre story. This certainly jibes with the idea that she's visiting the modern locations of CW era cities.

We know nothing else about Vartheret and Andenivan. We can make a wild guess about their locations. Denna probably went to Tinuë after leaving Severen, then visited Vartheret and Andenivan (in that order) before meeting Kvothe in Tarbean. This means Vartheret is probably closer to Tinuë and Andenivan is closer to Tarbean.

We know a bit about Tinuë: they grow limes there, it was formerly owned by the Lacklesses before the "bloodless rebellion" that seems to have happened fairly recently (Kvothe is uncertain if Meluan is a countess or not on account of it) and is probably the reason for the epithet "Free City". There are probably a lot of roads that meet there (but notably not the Great Stone Road). Apart from the name and the fame, nothing really connects it to a CW city so far, let alone the surviving city.

* Moving on: what other places had Denna visited? Tarbean (at least twice), Imre (at least three times), Anilin (at least twice), Trebon, the Small Kingdoms, Severen, and Yll.

Imre is located in a region known as Belenay-Barren in the Central Commonwealth, according to the postal address of letters Kvothe received and sent. (We might observe that the postal address is a superfluous detail.) This, of course, resembles the name of the CW city Belen. The "Barren" part could refer to it having been laid waste during the Betrayal, perhaps. Near Imre is the University which, of course, has the Underthing, which is clearly very old. Imre seems to be an excellent candidate for the site of Belen.

Tarbean is another possibility for Belen. In our world, Tar- or something like it is used as a prefix for city names in Semetic-speaking areas. If the same is true for Tarbean, it would mean "City of Bean", and "Bean" is similar to Belen.

It's even possible that Belen was so large that Tarbean and Imre were both part of it. According to Skarpi more poeple died in Drossen Tor than are alive in the world today, so (if true) those cities had to be really big. A 50-mile diameter might have be reasonable for Belen. (Though personally, I think Skarpi was full of it.)

Now there's very little to suggest Anilin as a CW city. We don't know anything about it except that some assassins hired to kill Kvothe had business there. It has a vaguely similar name to Emlen, but it turns out that there is another city which is a far better candidate to be Emlen. So Anilin is probably not built on the site of Emlen.

* Trebon is an interesting. It's only a small town, its name does not resemble any CW city names, and Denna was not there to do research. It does have the vase with depicting the Chandrian; however, the vase is clearly post-Betrayal: it shows Lord Haliax and the other Chandrian with their signs, and it also shows and Amyr. Nevertheless, it does seem that Trebon is more likely to be the site of a Creation War city your average small town in the 4C. Also, based on Kvothe's speculation on the geography, it seems like Trebon could have built on the site of a ancient battlefield.

* Denna says she spent "some time" in the Small Kingdoms, and witnessed a skrimish between mounted soldiers there. It's certainly possible that she was there some time to do research, so it would be a good guess that there was a CW-era city in what is now the Small Kingdoms. We don't know much about the Small Kingdoms. Its roads are not safe and there seems to be constant warfare. Also there was a poet who was also a King from there who had used Vashet as a bodyguard.

Yll we already speculated upon: there is slight reason to suspect that the surviving city was there, and Denna's visit adds an even slighter bit of support for that.

That leaves Severen. Denna does not seem to have been "digging up pieces of the story" there, and it doesn't resemble the name of any CW era city at all. Master Ash, who is helping her dig up the Lanre story, is not around. I can think of nothing in Severen that suggests it could be very old or related to the CW. I think we can conclude that Denna was just hanging out.

In looking at the cities Denna visited, we've seen four place names that kind of resemble the names of a CW-era city. But there is one modern place name Denna didn't visit that has almost exactly the same name as one. When Kvothe is small-talking with Sleat, he says, "I heard you arranged to get a message to Veyane's father in Emlin despite the fact that there was a siege going on." So there is a city called Emlin (and it's a city: no one really sieges provinces). Veyane is not mentioned anywhere else, and the nationality isn't obvious.

* Sieges usually occur on the frontier of countries that are in the process of losing territory; therefore an obvious guess is that Emlin is in what's left of the Aturan Empire. If you look at the 4C map (a colorized one), you should see small pockets of yellow land isolated from the main mass in the center of the continent. My guess is that Emlin is in one of those.

* Another possibility is that Emlin is in the Small Kingdoms, with all that war. Denna might have done research there while in the Small Kingdoms, assuming the siege had ended by the time she visited. (Or unless Sleat or Master Ash got her in.) One argument against this is that the might not be any Small Kingdom with the resources to conduct a siege; it often takes a large army to successfully siege a city.


Very little is known for sure, but I would say the preponderance of evidence supports the idea that the Creation War cities were located in the same land the Four Corners occupy now (with Myr Tariniel up in Stormwal), that various modern place names derive their names from the old cities, and that Denna is visiting them.
thistle pong
64. thistlepong

Reddit Fantasy is hosting AMAs with Terry Brooks (7-8) and Pat (7-9) in support of this week's Worldbuilders event if y'all wanna ask 'em any questions.

edit: dates, the Terry Brooks AMA is today
John Graham
65. JohnPoint
Robocarp @62 -- Nice. I would add two other places that we know Denna has been: Trebon and the small kingdoms.

I've postulated before that Trebon might be related to a CW city or outpost, and there is circumstantial evidence that supports it. 1) Kvothe proposes that there is an old hill fort burried at Borrowill, and indicates that, back when it was built, the area may well have not been the middle of nowhere. 2) One of the only references to the Chandrian Kvothe finds in the library is from A Quainte Compendium of Folke Belief, which is at least two hundred years old. In it, the author says, "One rather drunk Tanner in the towne of Hillesborrow said in hushed tones, 'If you talk of them, they come for you.'" I propose that "Hillesborrow"is Trebon ("Borrowill" = "Barrow-Hill" = "Hillesborrow"), and we know that there is Chandrian history in the area.

I don't know whether Denna was in Trebon to dig up CW stories or not, though it seems like it was a bit early for that. Though M. Ash may well have been there for just that purpose, with the wedding just an excuse.

The small kingdoms appear to have connections to Yll, or it's possible that Denna was just passing through on her way elsewhere.
jum bles
66. jumbles

Good stuff. I would remark that Denna witnesses a skirmish in the Small Kingdoms and that Kvothe doesn't consider the roads safe there. So Denna has been somewhere there, and I think they are more likely to be at war than Atur.
thistle pong
67. thistlepong
Pat's AMA is open.

Answers will begin at 7pm CST

I asked, "How's the road to Tinue?"
68. Marco.
@64/67 - Appreciate the heads up.
69. BigVik

Great analysis, but I have a question for you (or anyone): These cities you talk about are all the old imperial cities (the old Empire of the CW, not Atur). It appears that the Empire spread quite far as these cities span practically the entirety of the 4C (with some possible exceptions, see below), except that that leaves us with the question where did the Enemy come from?

I mean if the whole world is held by the Empire, where does the Enemy recruit the vast armies it commands? Is this implying the 4C/Fae distinction? According to Felurian it doesn't as she was in one of the Imperial cities, or did the aftermath of the CW include some kind of forced resettlement and physical separation of the two realms? That forced resettlement happened is confirmed by Adem, but no other group talks about it. Physical separation is strongly implied but apparently unfinished and reversible.

Another possibility is that some of the 4C lands are candidates for the Enemy lands, primarily to the north and west (Modeg and Ceald) but we know little about them. Also conspicously missing from your analysis of either the Enemy city or the surviving city is Caluptena. According to the recorded history, not CW legend, this is the oldest city we know of. The fact that it was burned 1000 years prior to NOTW events suggests a very old city, but it name doesn't resemble any name on the list, nor do we have any other important information about it, especially what role, if any, did it play in CW.
70. quintas11
Still nothing on the Lightning Tree? Anyone else ready to discuss that?
Jo Walton
71. bluejo
Quintas11 -- I'm doing a post on it, but it's slow, because there's a lot there and I've been away. I'll try to get it done for next Thursday.
jum bles
72. jumbles
My favorite exchange from the AMA was:

soddingjunkmail: Are the out of place capital letters in Denna's letter a worthwhile course of study? (I have spent, strictly speaking, more time on this than any sane person would deem advisable.)
PRothfuss: You Mean yOu haven't fiGureD it ouT yet?
BrettTheMonkey: You are such a punk sometimes, Rothfuss.
PRothfuss: I'm am a bad person. I freely admit this. I also should not be taken too seriously.
pogo13: I'm am .... okay this must be a code too.
PRothfuss: You should pretty much assume that anything I write is deliberately crafted so it can be anagramed into a spoiler for book three.
73. Goldfrapp
Not sure if anyone's seen this yet, Pat reads the prologue to the tale of Laniel Young Again
74. Rogerdodge
Ok, I just watched the video where Pat reads the beginning of Laniel young again, and something struck me. HARD. The theory that the modegans worship trees and nature spirits had been discussed before, but I never really gave it much thought. Hearing Pat read about the tree god of Laniel's town, I couldnt help but think of the story about Old Holly. I think I really want to go back and reread it before reading the story of laniel young again. Anyone else with me?
Igor Bugaenko
75. BioLogIn
Pat will be announcing the name of 4C world as a stretch goal for current fundraiser.
thistle pong
76. thistlepong
Excited. But not too excited. It doesn't say when ;)

Also, thanks.
John Graham
77. JohnPoint
Rogerdodge @74. Yep. I agree (as I mentioned when Thistle linked the post a couple of threads back.) I think that Old Holly almost certainly takes place in Modeg, and that Old Holly ties in to the Modegan religion.
Igor Bugaenko
78. BioLogIn
thistlepong @76, yeah, exactly. Honestly, I'd very much prefer to see that name on top of the "detailed map" they promised at 600k at Worldbuilders this winter ...
79. Marco.
That was my question, and while anything more than a flippant response from Pat was probably too much to hope for, I'm choosing to place a fair amount of stock in Amanda's response to Pat's first response:
Please be aware that Pat is occasionally cruel and likes to **** with people.
I'm making several assumptions:
1. that she's in a position to know the answer
2. she's taking pity on my miserable soul
3. she can be trusted
4. that I'm reading her response properly as identifing Pat's "you mean you haven't figured it out" as him being misleading

I'm concluding (not definitively, but on balance of probability)that the Letters are a red herring, and abandoning my efforts.
Carl Banks
80. robocarp
JohnPoint @ 65

Both the vase imagery and story of the Tinker in Hillesbarrow connect to a post-Betrayal period. The vase shows the Chandrian, with their signs, and an Amyr. The story describes the Chandrian as they're known today and seems different from the Chandrian from the Creation War. So I would disagree that anything directly connects Trebon to a CW-era time, although I definitely think it's possible that they're indirectly linked. ("The vase and story came out of Trebon because it was important back then; it was important back then because a CW city or outpost had been there.")

jumbles @ 66

Good point. I updated the post with that suggestion.

BigVik @ 69

The Four Corners is not the entire world. (Although I just noticed the 4C map on PR's site is misleadingly called "The World".) At least one place, Tahlenwald, is known to be east of the Stormwall mountains.
Steven Halter
81. stevenhalter
Temerant. The name of the world is Temerant. As in En Temerant Voistra.
(Pat announced the world name on his blog as a stretch goal.)
Steven Halter
82. stevenhalter
Temerant, in Latin, is the third-person plural present active indicative of temero.
I violate, defile, pollute, contaminate. I dishonor, disgrace.

While it is unlikely this is the meaning, it is interesting and it seems likely that Pat is aware of this.
Igor Bugaenko
83. BioLogIn
Yeah. "En Temerant Voistra". Imaginary lingustics folks, any ideas about translation?

"History/Chronicles of Temerant"? "Rulers/Kings of Temerant"? If we are to assume latin roots of this language, as 'temerant' suggests, then 'voistra' might be a plural noun (as in data/datum), right?
Andrew Mason
84. AnotherAndrew

The Four Corners is not the entire world. (Although I just noticed the
4C map on PR's site is misleadingly called "The World".) At least one
place, Tahlenwald, is known to be east of the Stormwall mountains.

Well, strictly the page on which the map is displayed is called 'The World'; the map is called 'the Four Corners of Civilization'. And while this might seem a distinction without a difference, I feel there is a bit of a difference; it's not so much saying 'this is a map of the world' as 'look, here you can see what world it is set in'.

As well as the Tahlenwald, there is also the Lanett (home of the Lenatti), which seems to be across the sea.

But another possible answer to BigVik's question is that as it was a fight between factions - known for convenience as 'Knowers' and 'Shapers' - it may be that there is no enemy territory as such; both factions are everywhere. Of course once the war starts there will be specific bits of land which are occupied by one side or the other, but there need be no answer to 'where did the enemy come from?'.
Carl Banks
85. robocarp
BioLogin @ 83

Since they can't find it in the Archives, it could be something ominous and revealing like "Shaping Magic of Temerant" or "All About the Faerie Portals in Temerant".

But I reread the passage and think it's very possible that Elodin just made the book up, so it could be something mundane like "Travel Guide to Temerant". IOW, I have no guess.
Jo Walton
86. bluejo
Do we even know what language that is?
Steven Halter
87. stevenhalter
We don't, but Tema or Temic would be my guess.
Jeremy Raiz
88. Jezdynamite
Would you feel that all of these are either Tema or Temic:

En Temerant Voistra (book title)
En Faent Morie (song title)
Vorfelan Rhinata Morie (chisled into the stone above the archives doors)
Steven Halter
89. stevenhalter
Jezydynamite@88:Wil identified "Vorfelan Rhinata Morie" as Temic and gave us the loose translation of "The desire for knowledge shapes a man".
The Morie connects it to "En Faent Morie" and the En is common with "En Temerant Voistra".
En is also common as a part of several Fae words like enbighten but I don't see that it is used by itself in any Faen phrases.
So, I would tend to go with Temic followed by Tema.
jum bles
90. jumbles
stevenhalter@89: So far as I can see, Wil provides a translation of Vorfelan Rhinata Morie, but doesn't identify the language. Kvothe early in NotW supposes that it could be Yllish or Temic, but I don't see anyone positively identifying the language. If I've missed something, could you point it out to me?
Steven Halter
91. stevenhalter
jumbles@90:You are right. That's what I get for going from a note and memory.
(It still seems like Temic/Tema.)

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