Sunday, January 20, 2013

Kingkiller Chronicles Speculation: Why Can't Kvothe Do Magic?


There's a certain type of book series that offers the reader the chance to be a detective; the entire world of the series is a mystery whose origins lie shrouded in a mist of narrative, yet enough light pierces that veil to allow the attentive reader to glimpse the nature of things.

The Kingkiller Chronicles is just such a series, perhaps the best such series.  It is written by a very talented writer, and it is already finished; every twist in the plot is already written in a manuscript, and Rothfuss is largely just fixing diction at this point (which is still taking him agonizingly long).  Further, the future of the series is already known; we know the end of the story, where Kvothe becomes the humble innkeeper of Nevarre and the world is torn apart by demon spiders, and we know that the rest of the story is going to explain how all of this happened.

So, as I have done in the past, I would like to take a moment to wildly speculate about the series.

There are, of course, SPOILERS.  Please do not read this until you have read the first two books, and thoroughly.  Try to piece things together for yourself, or you're missing half the fun of the series.



One subject that has caused much debate is the issue of Kvothe and his apparent inability to do magic.  In particular, when Kvothe is attacked by the skin-dancer at the end of NotW, he throws elderberry liquor on it and is about to light it on fire.  But he doesn't light it on fire.
"With an almost casual motion, Kvothe grabbed a dark bottle from the counter and flung it across the bar.  It struck the mercenary in the mouth and shattered.  The air filled with the sharp tang of elderberry, dousing the man's still-grinning head and shoulders
"Reaching out one hand, Kvothe dipped a finger into the liquor that spattered the bar.  He muttered something under his breath, his forehead furrowed in concentration.  He stared intently at the bloody man standing on the other side of the bar.
"Nothing happened.
The mercenary reached across the bar, catching hold of Kvothe's sleeve  The innkeeper simply stood, and in that moment his expression held no fear, no anger or surprise.  He seemed only weary, numb, and dismayed." - Chapter 88
After this event, as Chronicler, Kvothe, and Bast discuss what happened, Chronicler makes the mistake of asking about the fire.  Bast purposefully hurts his bruised shoulder, sends Kvothe away, then cautions Chronicler.
"'Don't ask him about it,' he hissed urgently.  'Don't mention it at all.'
"Chronicler looked puzzled.  'What are you talking about?'
"About the bottle.  About the sympathy he tried to do.
"So he was trying to light that thing on fire?  Why didn't it work?  What's--'
"Bast tightened his grip, his thumb digging into the hollow beneath Chronicler's collarbone.  The scribe gave another startled yelp.  'Don't talk about that,' Bast hissed in his ear.  'Don't ask questions.'" - Chapter 88
And of course, Bast later sneaks in to Chronicler's room to remind him not to focus on the bad things that will make Kvothe sad but the heroic things that will build him up, in particular on "why he doesn't do magic anymore." [Chapter 92].

So it seems that something has happened that prevents Kvothe from using magic, even to save his own life, and that whatever it is will likely only remind Kvothe of the terrible and dark past.

Let me interject quickly here what Alar is and is not.  When we are first introduced to Alar, it is with an analogy to belief.  It is the way donkeys believe in a whip; riding-crop belief.  It is the ability to believe things, multiple things, contradictory to one another, and yet know that they are not true.  Alar is the ability to believe with one part of your mind that a rock will not fall, and with another that it will fall, regardless of what rocks really do.  It is an ability to concentrate.  Kvothe is good at sympathy because he is clever and intelligent and was trained in this concentration from a young age; not because he has some Harry-Poter-like "wizard blood".  Alar is not in itself magical, but is what facilitates magic to happen.  Sympathy is practically a science, involving transporting forms of energy from one region to another, converting them from one form to another.  The ability to do sympathy is almost the ability to do algebra in your head.  In theory, any given peasant could use sympathy if they could focus properly (and not be superstitious about it).  The idea that Kvothe has 'lost' his Alar or 'broken' his Alar is to say that Kvothe lost his ability to focus in a particular way, or broke his ability to concentrate on something.  Unless he had a stroke or something, that doesn't make sense.  So if it is the case that Kvothe can no longer do sympathy, then there must be a deeper explanation than that he "lost the source of his powers".

The seeming explanation offered to us in the book itself is that he has worn a mask of innkeeper for so long that he now sees himself as an unmagical innkeeper and so is becoming an unmagical innkeeper.  This is at least what Bast says, that seeming is being.  In this view, then, Kvothe could not light the skin-dancer on fire because he was so thoroughly caught up in playing an innkeeper that he stumbled when trying to be his real magical self.  He still has the power to light alcohol on fire from a distance, but he was too deep in the Kote persona to do it.

This explanation is given by Bast, but it is not given by Bast to explain why Kvothe cannot do sympathy.  When Chronicler asks why Kvothe does not do magic or music, Bast tells him not to pursue that topic because it is not productive.  This is after explaining about the innkeeper mask, so if Bast suspected the reason Kvothe couldn't do magic was the innkeeper mask, he would have said something more like "it's the mask, like I just told you about."  Bast's reply here implies a more profound reason than the innkeeper persona, and shows that not even Bast believes "his own" theory on this.

Even if Bast does not suspect this theory, it would explain the known facts.  It would explain why Kvothe can still fight off five Scrael and dig their graves then carry Chronicler back to the inn while himself covered in razor slices all over his body.  Notice, also, the changes Chronicler sees in Kvothe, from telling his story as a bold and fiery hero, to then fading in to an obscure nobody once customers walk in.  Especially interesting is Kvothe's response to being told "You are Kvothe" by Chronicler.  It would explain why Kvothe at first (just jarred out of his story) is beating the crap out of the soldiers in the second book, and it would explain why he then loses saying he "almost forgets who he is" (which is Kote).  Also accounted by this theory is why Kvothe is seen training at the very end of WMF; he is now trying to step out of the innkeeper persona and back in to his old self.  Maybe with this will come the magic, and the music?

And think of the music.  We have been told four times now that "if there had been music... but no, of course there was no music".  And yet Kvothe gets carried away when visitors come to the inn and starts leading everyone in clapping and singing "Tinker Tanner"; he is clearly still musical, when he forgets himself.  He just avoids playing the lute, maybe for fear of getting caught back up in his old self and blowing the disguise (right after he sings, one of the guests recognizes him and approaches him).  This theory presents a more hopeful view of the end of the story, with Kvothe coming back to his true self and regaining all of his powers.

Related to this is the idea that Kvothe isn't just getting caught up in character, but is actively using his Alar to hide his powers from himself, like in the game seek-the-stone that Ben taught him.  It is very similar in how it approaches Kvothe's behavior in the frame, and how Kvothe will ultimately return to his "true self".

Another theory, more intriguing, is that Kvothe has changed his name.  Not just from Kvothe to Kote, but has changed his true name that describes his essence (that is, a clever and musical magician with an Alar like a rod of Ramston steel) to something more mundane (like a mild-mannered innkeeper who makes delicious apple pies).  In the beginning of the story, it even says that he has changed his name to Kote, because names are important to him.  Elodin makes perfectly clear that name changes are possible, and that the result of it is terrifying (notice his shock when he thinks Fela might have done so).  Name-changing would be disastrous if used improperly, but for the apparently grief-striken Kvothe who has realized that his actions have destroyed the entire world (so that demons from Fae are commonplace occurrences and the entire world is in the war of the Penitent King) it might just sound like the best thing to do, to keep from doing any more damage.

Why doesn't Kvothe do magic?  Bast said it wasn't a fruitful topic, and if he had changed his name to get rid of his powers out of profound guilt and shame, that seems like the sort of thing you don't ask people about.  When Chronicler almost asked Kvothe why his magic failed, Bast digs a claw in to his shoulder wound to keep him from it; this might be because Bast doesn't want Chronicler to embarrass him (that's how I first read it), or it might be because the loss of sympathy came with a change of Kvothe's deeper essence, which was sparked by a very troubling and depressing event that Bast doesn't want his Reshi to dwell on.

And why doesn't Kvothe do music?  This is even more of a question, given how obsessive Kvothe is about it.  It's a need like water for him.  It might just be part of the disguise, but it's an extreme step.  I can see why he'd willingly give up fighting and magic to be a lowly innkeeper, but music doesn't seem like it needs to be on that list.  For instance, playing music would be good for business in the inn, even if only a little of it.  If Kvothe has changed his name, it might have had the unintended consequence of changing his musical abilities, too.  Perhaps his naming and sympathy come from the same source of intelligence and drive and aesthetics that also motivates his love of music?  (After all, music and mathematics tend to be very closely related skill sets).  I think a name change makes more sense there.

One further thing is the reason why Bast is learning alchemy.  We know, resolutely, that Kvothes knows nothing about alchemy.  But, if he had changed his name and hence truly lost his ability to do other magic like sympathy or naming, this explains why now he's focused on alchemy; it's the only one left to him, not requiring any power of the alchemist, but of the substances used.

However, I don't think a name change makes sense in other places.  Kvothe fought five scrael by himself, and we know an ordinary person just barely killed one after it was wounded coming over the mountains and squashed by a horse.  Kvothe also still sings, when the guests come and he loses himself in the moment, and possibly when the young couple come with their child and Kvothe accuses Bast of being the father.  Kvothe also fought the two soldiers, and was winning at first; seemingly he could have beat them if he had wanted to.

Most damning to this theory, though, is that Kvothe does still do magic.  Explicitly, in chapter 6, when Chronicler is trying to convince Kvothe to tell his story, he makes a fist with his right hand and causes a bottle eight inches away to explode.  If his true name were really changed and his powers removed with it, he wouldn't be able to do that.

In this theory, there are a number of resolutions.  One is that Kvothe has locked his name inside of the thrice-locked chest, just as Jax did with the name of the Moon.  The lock is intended to keep himself from opening it too soon, on an impulse or a broken will.  Hopefully he will figure out how to open the chest by the end of the story, and thus regain all of his power.  Another is that Kvothe really and finally changed his name, but that Chronicler (a known namer), after collecting the story of Kvothe, will be able to speak the true name of Kvothe back to Kote and restore him to who he was (similar to what Skarpi and Elodin do).  Or, depressingly, he just stays Kote and dies like the prologues keep saying he's waiting for.  I don't put a tragic ending past this series.

A related theory pertains to a vow Kvothe swore to Denna, on his good left hand and his power and his name, to not try to find out who her patron was.  The Cthaeh seems to have obliterated all possibility of him keeping that vow.  Kvothe might somehow be magically bound to that vow (though I can't imagine why), and when he seeks her patron in the third book, these things will be lost.  Or perhaps Denna becomes so enraged at his betrayal when he seeks her patron that she herself invokes the terms of the vow (reminiscent of Selitos, making this truly a story of betrayal).  In this theory, then, Kvothe doesn't play music because his left hand, used for forming chords, no longer works.  He doesn't do sympathy because he lost his power, and he has lost his name.  But he can still do non-related things, like alchemy and ketan.  Or maybe even Kvothe enforces this sacrifice on himself in his grief after having broken his vowto his love, purposefully paralyzing his left hand and refusing to perform magic.

If you look through the book, you will see a special and vague attention paid to Kvothe's hands.  For instance, the third silence of the prologues and epilogues "is in the hands of the innkeeper".  He also looks at his hands often, in particular when he says how nice a panacea would be, or when he pokes himself with a thorn while weaving the holly boughs without knowing it.  He fumbles clumsily at the locks  on his chest.  In the story told by Kvothe, fear about his hands is a constant obsession, which seems to set the stage for him to lose them.

And yet in the frame, Kvothe's hands are described constantly as "graceful" and seem to be no less capable than they are in the story.  Kvothe enjoys using them, and takes a long time polishing glass just to savor the use of his skilled hands.

Not related to any theory, but on the issue of the fight, people who mention this seem to forget what Bast says when he meets up with the soldiers later.  That is, that Kvothe "figured it out".  Bast and the soldiers both seem to think that Kvothe figured out they were just there as a scam to get Kvothe to come back to his old self, and that is why he throws the fight.  That connects to his words to Chronicler after he lost; he had just finished telling about his training with the Adem and the entire troupe of bandits he killed, he starts taking on the soldiers, then he realizes (somehow) that this is a set up and goes back to his Kote self; he tells Chronicler that he "almost forgot who he was".  I bring that up because if you want to discuss the lost fight with the soldiers, the text seems to strongly suggest that Kvothe lost it on purpose, at least partially to make a point to Bast.

All told, I think the idea of Kvothe's name being locked in the thrice-locked chest is the neatest (and what the heck else is in there?), but does not account for the events of the story.  In particular it doesn't explain how Kvothe is still able to music, still able to magically break glass, and still able to fight off the scrael.

What I think makes the most sense is exactly what the story says: seeming is being.  Kvothe is playing the part of innkeeper, and hence has become an innkeeper.  Sometimes he merely doesn't do magic, out of grief for what he's done and to not give himself away; the innkeeper persona isn't just a disguise, but a penance for having ruined the entire world.  But other times he really cannot, because he's so deep in making delicious pies that those parts of himself are atrophied.  This fits the data the best, and may have a connection to the Fae magics of glamourie and grammarie ("seeming" and "being", introduced briefly in the text -- Bast does a glamourie when he turns Chronicler's ink into a bird, and I don't think there's been a grammarie yet).

Kvothe is wearing the mask, and is becoming the mask.

I think, as per the end of the second book, that Kvothe is beginning to get jostled out of his complacency, as demons and bandits are regularly attacking his town and he recounts his past heroics.  He started retraining in ketan, trying to open the thrice-locked chest, and unlocking the parts of him that hold his music and his magic.  I think in the third book, we'll begin to see a return of Kvothe's music, magic, and fighting skills.

Or at least I hope so, anyway.  Can't wait to find out for sure.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great analysis! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post.
I found the comment in the last paragraph about "Kvothe is wearing the mask, and is becoming the mask" especially intriguing. If you recall near the end of TWMF while Kvothe is learning Yllish (spelling?) from the chancellor, he mentions:

"All ownership was oddly dual: as if the Chancellor owned his socks, but at the same time the socks somehow also gained ownership of the Chancellor. This altered the use of both words in complex grammatical ways. As if the simple act of owning socks somehow fundamentally changed the nature of a person."

I see a resemblance between this and what you say about Kvothe and Kote, whereby taking on the mask of the innkeeper, the mask has also gained ownership of Kvothe, and in a way "fundamentally changed the nature of Kvothe

Reece said...

Thanks, Anonymous! I had completely forgotten that part. I probably need to re-read before the third book comes out.

Lauren said...

Good analysis, I like where you're going.

I honestly have no clear answer, but I do think a) the chest definitely has SOMETHING to do with why he can't use his magic as well and b) his A'lar is "broken".

(a) is obvious I think. As for (b), I think the evidence for it can be found in the comparison of Kvothe's A'lar to "a blade of ramston steel". Ramston steel, as has been pointed out is "the sharpest blade you'll ever have - until it breaks". Ramston is apparently brittle and breaks easily when enough force is put upon it. So it seems this comparison has been Rothfuss way of foreshadowing the inevitable "break".

So if it did "break", what would that mean for Kvothe? I think his current situation could be the case - still able to perform some sympathy, and only without conscious effort.

We can also look at Kvothe's time as Kote as a parallel to his time in Tarbean after his family's murder. If you read the hints before this time, Kvothe talks about the "doors of the mind". Those being sleep, forgetfulness, madness, and death (as an aside, does anyone think it's a coincidence that there is a "four-plate door" in the archives, and four doors of the mind?).

After the murder, he says he escapes behind the doors of sleep - and then he seems to push most of it into the doors of forget. He tries not to think of his "former" life. In Tarbean, he never performs sympathy. Kvothe even states in his story that he was "not himself".

It's not until Skarpi - who causes him to remember. And then once Skarpi names Kvothe, when he tells Kvothe to flee, that Kvothe truly snaps out of it. His first acts are to grab his book from Ben and to head to the university. His charades to obtain clothes and shoes are his first indications that he remembers acting (think about it - why wouldn't he have used these skills to make money in Tarbean to survive, if he had remembered how?).

So we can see for the 3 years in Tarbean, Kvothe was "not himself". Who was he? Was he a young Kote? I see a lot of similarities between the "innkeeper" version of Kvothe and the ragged beggar boy in Tarbean.

Maybe Chronicler will have to snap Kvothe out of it this time, or Skarpi might again (remember, Chronicler said he was headed to meet Skarpi).

Reece said...

Hey, sorry for taking so long to reply.

I had heard other people make the connection with "Ramston steel" and Kvothe's Alar. I really don't think it makes sense. Either it is misdirection, an unintentional connection, or the author forgot how sympathy works. I agree the words are there -- "strongest knife until it breaks," and Alar like a rod of Ramston steel" -- but Alar isn't the kind of thing that breaks. Alar is a mental process. If you "broke" your ability to think in some manner previously accessible to you, it would mean you suffered a stroke.

I do think you're on to something with the doors, though. I really want to know what's behind the Fourplate Door in the Archives.

And I'm curious to know what is in the chest. I think it being a part of his Name would make a lot of sense. But it might be something even worse.

I need to re-read the series, honestly. There's probably a hundred things I'm missing.

Anonymous said...

I think you are misunderstanding Alar. The Alar is defined in terms of belief not concentration or a mental exercise like Heart of Stone or Falling Leaf. Belief is exactly the sort of thing that can be shaken or broken by a catastrophic failure.

Reece said...

Maybe I am. I plan to do a re-read when Rothfuss announces the third book, and I'll look in to this issue then. My money is that this is misdirection. But... we'll have to wait and see! :P

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure its "Spinning Leaf" @anonymous

Anonymous said...

Best analysis I've read. However, I want to further explore that Kvothe 'threw the fight' with the soldiers. You say that Bast and the soldiers agree Kvothe "figured it out."However, just the opposite happened. The soldier asks 'Does he know? He throw you out?' / Bast shook his head and tipped the bottel back again 'Then you ain't got nothin to compain of.'"

If Bast shook his head, then he was saying 'no, he didn't figure it out.' He would have nodded his head otherwise. Additionally, the soldier's response to his head shake confirms this.

I think the book makes clear he didn't lose on purpose...think of how mad he was at Bast (and self deprecating towards himself) for Bast suggesting he should have been able to win.

He is certainly losing more and more of his powers as he continues as Kote, thus he isn't surprised when he can't open his chest. That being said, I think he must still have had something happen to start the process. I discount the theory that he changed his name, though I could possibly see him doing so if for an example, a Chandarian learned his name and had power over him. I totally discount the idea that he was bound by his promise to Denna. I think that him setting his power aside in penance is the most likely of the theories, simply because it plays into his current bad outlook and you could totally see him doing so if he cost Denna her life for example. That being said, I think it is even more likely that he lost his powers for a better reason that hasn't been hinted at yet. I just don't think any of the current theories, including penance, fit his drastic, but not complete loss of powers.

As an aside, there is a suggestion in the book that 'of course there was no music,' and Bast saying don't ask about his music, both of which make me think he lost his flute ability along with his sympathy, as opposed to just refusing to play

Jetski said...

Great analysis.
I like the theory that he changed his true name to 'Kote' or is in the process of it and he has dual personalities or names right now. Kvothe still has powers and strength that are below the surface and cannot be accessed when he is 'Kote'. Bast is trying to wake up Kvothe. When he is Kvothe fully he those powers and strength manifest themselves (the bottle that breaks when he grips air; his vise-like grip on Bast, the way Chronicler sees him in that moment; the statement for Chronicler to undo that (iron binding) or I will break it; his defeat of 5 Scre
I have a couple comments also that I have been wondering about in the fight with the soldiers. It's been 2 years and the soldier was a strong scrapper with scarred knuckles. With joint locks against bigger/stronger opponents technique needs to be perfect or they can pull out of the hold. The strong bearded soldier does just that.
Kvothe then tries "a quick motion with both hands" to break the soldiers grasp on him. That seems like Celean's version of "Break Lion" and that also does not work even though it is specially designed to work against stronger opponents.
He seems weak in this moment in stark contrast to when he grabbed Bast's wrist when Chronicler put an iron binding on Bast.
Did anyone else notice that the soldier hitting him in the head with the bottle did not do as much damage as it should.
“When it hit the innkeeper’s head it made a solid, almost metallic sound.
Kvothe crumpled bonelessly to the floor.
The big man looked at the bottle of wine curiously before setting it back on the bar.”
I think he may have some sort of protection like a personal Bloodless. When he shows the original to Kilvin the device makes a metallic clank sound. Kvothe may have created a personal version that protects against melee weapons. A stretch? Maybe – but his injuries are not consistent with getting clubbed with a wine bottle by a strong soldier so either he has something protecting him or his skull is extraordinary.
Of course, he IS a consummate actor, as we saw with the feigned knee injury. He IS extremely smart, he may have figured out that Bast is trying to wake his inner Kvothe. The only time we have seen the inner Kvothe come to the foreground is when the only witnesses already know he is Kvothe. But something is certainly wrong with him, and it takes something outside of himself to waken the hero or he would be able to open his chest.

Reece said...

Book Three needs to happen.

I had never noticed the point about the bottle not breaking. That is pretty strange, and there might be something to it.

Uriah Guenther said...

I won't spend time putting together a polished response because, well I'm lazy, but wanted to bounce a few things off you. This is my first stop in looking at internet speculations and felt I should leave my mind here as tribute :) Let me know what you think.

Denna is somehow tied to the Chandrian. Ultimately Kvothe has to kill her, or the Chandrian do. Which accounts for why Bast says, 'I hear theres a new Chandrian' or something along those lines. But Bast bringing that up so casually seems to mean that it wasn't Denna looking at how carefully Bast sews his words.

Cinder being defeated by Kvothe seems to be most reasonable to me. With so much respect paid to him in the books and no other member, I think Kvothe does find him and kill him, which is why the Chandrian found a replacement and perhaps that battle left Kvothe with a curse, or maybe he split his mind too many times in the fight and not all the pieces came back together.

Those are the most blaring theories to me, let me know what you think!

Reece said...

I am of the opinion that Denna's patron is an Amyr, and that her patron is Bredon.

The way I read Bast's comment (actually I think it was Chronicler) was that people were claiming Kvothe was the new Chandrian, and was thus trying to persuade him in to telling his real story to avoid his association with the Chandrian.

I really hope Kvothe does kill Cinder.

Muser said...

Kote in siaru translates to disaster. Kilvan tells Kvothe the saying "expect disaster every seven years" after the fire in the fishery. Kvothe's first disaster was his troupe being massacred at 11 or 12 years old. Next disaster is at 18. Then 25 where he is now an innkeeper. Just a thought. The loss of his hands seems to be a really good theory I never thought of. Notice the "v" and "h" are missing from his name. Could that be voice and hands...but no...he still has his voice.

Also I think he killed an Adem warrior. Hence the sword folly on the wall. Maybe Carceret? He discribed her as being more angry than anyone else who has ever been angry in the series thus far. I don't think that will be left by the roadside.

David Kramme said...

Maybe Kvothe tested Bast with the thrice locked chest in the hope that Bast could free his name

David Kramme said...

Maybe Kvothe tested Bast with the thrice locked chest in the hope that Bast could free his name

David Kramme said...

Maybe Kvothe told Bast to try and break his chest to release his name.

David Kramme said...

Maybe Kvothe told Bast to try and break his chest to release his name.

Hans Meier said...

Have you concidered the possibility that Kvothe lost his power upon breaking his oath to Denna?

"I swear I won't attempt to uncover your patron I said bitterly. I swear it on my name and my power. I swear it by my good left hand. I swear it by the ever-moving moon.”

That always seemed most logical to me. Elodin vows not to tell anyone about Auri in a very similiar way aswell.

"I swear on my mother’s milk,” Elodin said. “I swear on my name and my power. I swear it by the ever-moving moon."

Elodin, a powerful namer that is shocked by the notion of changing one's name, would not swear by his name in jest.

Hartung said...

"I think he may have some sort of protection like a personal Bloodless" -Jetski

"[The Innkeeper] brought out a bottle of wine and sat it on the bar with a solid, satisfying sound."
"The soldier let go of Kvothe’s wrist, then reached out and picked up the bottle of wine from the bar. Gripping it by the neck, he swung it like a club. When it hit the side of the innkeeper’s head, it made a solid, almost metallic sound."
"The big man looked at the bottle of wine curiously before setting it back on the bar."
"“Wait a moment,” the blonde soldier said. He hurried back to the bar and snatched the bottle of wine."
"[The bearded soldier] grabbed a random bottle."
"...said the bearded one, lifting up a narrow yellow bottle. “Suck on this. It’s some fruit thing,...""
""...the blonde soldier said, holding up his own. “Here. Now this here is a man’s drink.”"
"[Bast] ended pointing at the yellow bottle..."
"[Bast] said. “It’s elderberry.”"

So we see from this that the bottle that Kote was smacked over the head with was a good bottle of wine, and that it was the bottle that made a strange sound not kote's head. I think that the wine bottle was made from twice-tough glass, which is why it sounded like metal. A good bottle of wine should be protected in shatter-proof glass.

Xero said...

I am relistening to WMF right now and got to this part. So obviously, I stopped my audiobook and googled it. I think that might be it. But we shall see.

AJoseph said...

I started reading this, but I stopped for the sake of my sanity. I have not read the second book and I would not have the ability to live after spoiling it for myself and knowing that I had the ability to stop it. I will save this page and come back to it as soon as I find and read the second book.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for such an insightful and well thought out analysis. I'm going to throw a couple of things that struck me during my reading of the series.

On Kvothe choosing to hide as an innkeeper: At one point (I think it was in relation to Ankers, but I'm not 100% sure without doing a search) Kvothe notes that the life of an innkeeper seems a good life. It would also be a good life for someone who would like to hear news from other parts of the world.

On the contents of the thrice locked chest: Apart from possibly holding his true name (in full or part) it may well hold many other things valuable to Kvothe and important to his true self. Perhaps his shadow cloak, his lute, his sword, Caesura (though that may have been returned to the Adem when he supposedly died), his bone ring from Stapes, his Rhetoric and Logic book given to him by Abenthy. In other words all the things he valued for one reason or another; things that all formed part of him being Kvothe.

On the Chandrian: By the end of second book it is clear they still live as Bast is concerned about Kvothe naming them. Given that bit of knowledge Kvothe hasn't achieved his aim of avenging the death of his parents. This gives me hope that the story doesn't end with Kvothe becoming Kote. I'm hoping it means he regains his true self and rids the world of the Chandrian, whether this happens as part of this series or whether it ends with Kvothe regaining his music and powers and a forthcoming series covers the next step in his journey, is open to speculation. I mention a possible next series in this universe because that Kvothe has a lot of ground to cover (saving a Princess, killing a king, killing a poet, being expelled from the University though some say that has already happened and is the expelling Kote mentions to Chronicler, being betrayed by Denna, meeting and taking Bast on as a student, and God only knows what else in order to gain the fame (infamy???) he has at the time of his telling of his story Chronicler) from where the second book finishes to being Kote the innkeeper. At the end of WMF Kvothe is approximately eighteen and Kote, our narrator is twenty-five(?) and has been at the inn for two to three years and in the life of Kvothe a lot can happen in 4-5 years and Rothfuss doesn't skim write, he gives us exquisite detail so even with a 1000 page novel...

Random Questions:
Does anyone else wonder why Kote doesn't throw out the scrunched up papers where he began to write his story and won't let anyone read them?

Anyone else wonder if the Book of Secrets Kvothe found in the Dead Ledgers is important. It's the book that had pictures and simple poems in it and the book itself is mentioned a further two times in abstract ways - Old Cobb mentions it in his story about Kvothe being attacked in the alley and then Hespe does in her story about Jax stealing the moon. On top of that in the novella about Auri there is an illustration showing the Book of Secrets on the shelf Auri set up for him. On the cover is a candle and a crescent moon. I wonder what would happen if Kvothe read it in the moonlight using a special candle... Would it reveal more secrets???

Does anyone else speculate that during the time Kvothe spent in the forest following the murder of his parents where he played his lute and made up his own songs about falling leaves etc that he learned with his sleeping mind the names of many other things other than the wind?