Sunday, July 27, 2014

Kingkiller Chronicles

I've been rereading the Kingkiller Chronicles in anticipation of Auri's novella coming out in October, and I decided to compile a list of some of my running theories and things I've noticed. This is more for myself than anyone else, but feel free to comment if you've read the books. If you haven't read them, I strongly recommend them they're some of the most well-written and interesting fantasy books I've ever read. There are two books in the series so far, plus a short story in Rogues (an anthology of short stories by various authors) and a novella out in October. (I'm also updating this post as I notice more, but have moved it to my book-related blog here)

I'm splitting it into sections to make it easier. This post is part list, part a collection of theories, and part a place to save things that I think will be important later. As such, sorry if it's a little disjointed, and sorry that some things are repeated. There are things that fit into multiple categories. 

Kvothe's names:
Maedre - Given by the Adem, means The Flame, The Thunder, or the Broken Tree [prophetic?]
Dulator -  Given by his first real lover
Shadicar -
Lightfinger - possibly because of his lute, or because of his cut-purse abilities
Six-String - Definitely because of his lute
Kvothe the Bloodless - probably because of his tendency to take nahlroot before whippings
Kvothe the Arcane -
Kvothe Kingkiller
Kote - means disaster

Obviously, a big part of Kvothe's name-change was to avoid his notoriety and the consequences that come with it, especially as he obviously killed a king. I wonder though, if he also changed his true name, to bind his powers, out of guilt because he felt responsible for starting the war. It's obviously possible to change your true name, or else Elodin wouldn't have freaked out when Kvothe mentioned changing a name. It would explain his sudden inability to do basic sympathy. 

Aaron mentions a poem about Kvothe. I think it's likely that it's talking about the names that Kvothe knows, which makes me wonder what the last one is. 
On his first hand he wore rings of stone,
Iron, amber, wood and bone,
There were rings unseen on his second hand,
One was blood in a flowing band,
One of air all whisper thin
And the ring of ice had a flaw within,
Full faintly shone the ring of flame,
And the final ring was without a name. 

The Chandrian
Cyphus bears the blue flame.
Stercus is in thrall of iron.
Ferule chill and dark of eye.
Usnea lives in nothing but decay.
Grey Dalcenti never speaks.
Pale Alenta brings the blight.
Last there is the lord of seven:
Hated. Hopeless. Sleepless. Sane.
Alaxel bears the shadow's name. 

"When the hearthfire turns to blue,
what to do? What to do?
Run outside. Run and hide.

When your bright sword turns to rust?
Who to trust? Who to trust?
Stand alone. Standing stone.

See a woman pale as snow?
Silent come and silent go.
What's their plan? What's their plan?
Chandrian. Chandrian."

The main this in this song that I find interesting is the "stand alone. Standing stone." I wonder if that means that Waystones can offer protection from the Chandrian. 

1. Alaxel/Haliax/Lanre
In the story of Lanre, Selitos tells him "Your own name shall be turned against you that you shall have no peace". I wonder if that's why the Chandrian don't want any songs about them, and why they need protection from the singers as well as the Amyr and the Sithe.

I think we can guess that Lanre went to see the Ctheath, and was told whatever truths it took to cause the death of Lyra (or just fail to prevent it).

They depict Haliax as having a mirror by his feet and moon stages all around him. I'm guessing the moon stages are because he makes the moon go dark whenever he appears, but it could just as easily have something to do with the Fae. 

2. Cinder/Ferule
Cinder is described as pale and white haired, sharp, and cold, and almost beautiful. I think that he's Master Ash. 
If it's true that Cinder is Master Ash, it's interesting that he's researching genealogies. Maybe he's looking for progeny of the Amyr or Selitos (though they've said that none of the Amyr were human), I think it's more likely that he's looking for Iax's descendants. 

3. Cyphus
I'm guessing this is the woman depicted on the Plate with some of her clothes off

4. Stercus
The woman on the Plate holding the broken sword

5. Usnea
Man depicted on the plate next to a dead tree

6. Dalcenti
I'm guessing this is the woman from the song "silent come and silent go", though on the plate there was a man with a dog biting his leg (I'm guessing because their presence makes animals go crazy) and Dalcenti is the only one without a sign specifically mentioned by the Adem. 

7. Alenta

It's obvious from the fact that they hunted down and killed Arlidan's troupe, and from the rules that the Adem have surrounding their story that they can track the people who use their names.

The Chandrian fear The Amyr, the singers, and the Sithe. 

The Amyr
The Amyr are mentioned in many forms. According to Felurian, the Amyr were never mortals, but from the history of the church, it seems that some of them must have been. 
Some think that Gibea was a secret member of the Amyr- he killed thousands to gain knowledge of physiognomy. It could be said that what he did, though incredibly disturbing, was for the greater good. If he was an Amyr, it's obvious that some of them were human, because I feel like the Fae wouldn't be particularly interested in the physiognomy of humans. 
They talk also of the Ciridae, whose actions can never be questioned. 

The Sithe:
The Sithe seem to be essentially the Fae equivalent of the Amyr. They do whatever is necessary for the greater good. I wonder if Lanre's visit to the Ctheath was what made them realize that they needed to keep people from going near the Ctheath, or kill them to keep them from leaving after they spoke to it.

The Creation War:
The story of Jax/Iax and the Creation War seem like they're going to become more relevant in the next book. I think it's clear from Felurian talking of Iax stealing part of the moon and from what Skarpi says of the Creation War (and his mention of Iax being one of the three people in the world who could match Selitos's skills in naming) that Hespe's story has some sort of historical basis.
-The story talks of Jax living in "an old house at the end of a broken road". It's possible that that's just a weird wording in the story as Hespe's mother told it, but I can't help if that road is the "road that's not for traveling" from the Lackless song that Kvothe got caught singing as a child. 
The other things that I think are important are the three things in the tinker's third pack. Kvothe mentions many times the importance of the numbers three and seven in stories, so I would expect the third pack to be important even if it weren't as obvious as it is. The third pack contained a flute that could draw creatures to it when played, even the moon. It seems to have the same sort of enthralling power as Felurian's song. I'm not sure if that will be important later, or if that was just added to the story to make three objects in the pack. The second item in the box is the folding house. They describe it as a little off, some of the rooms "showed a strange sky of unfamiliar stars. Everything about the place was slightly skewed. In one room you could look out the window at the springtime flowers, while across the hall the windows were filmed with winter's frost. It could be time for breakfast in the ballroom, while twilight filled a nearby bedroom." I don't think that Jax unfolded a folding house and created the Fae, but I think that the folding house was the storybook version of the creation of the Fae (since the actual story would've been long, complicated, and somewhat less interesting). The third item in the tinker's pack is the box in which he trapped a piece of the moon's name. I think that box is the Lackless box. It would explain the line about "in a box, no lid or locks, Lackless keeps her husband's rocks." Since the name is the essence of a thing, it would make sense that from the outside, a box that held part of the moon's name would feel as if it contained heavy rocks. I also wonder if this is why Cinder had Denna researching genealogies. Perhaps he's trying to find Iax's descendants. 

The Lackless family and the Songs/Poems
I've suspected from my first reading that Laurian might be Meluan's sister. She hints many times at her noble birth, and being stolen away by Arlidan's beautiful voice. Meluan's sister was stolen away in just that way. I also thought that mentioning Laurian's reaction to the song as Kvothe sang it was a really tidy way to introduce this possibility. The fact that he remembers her rebuke so many years later suggests that it was important, even if Kvothe didn't know it. Someone else also pointed out that in Arlidan's song, he hints at the fact that she was Netalia Lackless (and calls her Tally). From Meluan's deep anger I'm guessing it goes beyond that, I wonder if Meluan was also rather taken by Arlidan and bitter at not being chosen, or if that bitterness truly comes just from being abandoned by her sister. 

First Lackless Song
Seven things has Lady Lackless

Keeps the underneath her black dress

One a ring that's not for wearing
A ring of wood or bone, I'm guessing wood
One a sharp word, not for swearing
I expect this is a name. When Kvothe knew Felurian's name he made it seem as if he could cut her open as easily as breathe. A true name would certainly be considered a sharp word. 
Right beside her husband's candle

There's a door without a handle
The Doors of Stone perhaps?
In a box, no lid or locks
Obviously this is the Lackless box, I'm wondering (along with everyone else who's read the books) if it's also the box that Kote has in his rooms. I also think this is the box from the story of Jax. 
Lackless keeps her husband's rocks
Since a name is the essence of a thing, I'd imagine a piece of the moon's name would feel rather like rocks. 
There's a secret she's been keeping

She's been dreaming and not sleeping
I have two theories on this. The first is that she was a namer. From someone on the outside, entering the sleeping mind would look like daydreaming. Also Felurian describes the ones who know the names of all things and move to change them as "shapers, proud dreamers" which makes me thing this theory is the true one. My other theory is that perhaps this is their way of saying that she's entering the Fae. Surely to a mortal the place would seem rather dreamlike (perhaps nightmarish), and it can only be entered on moonlit nights. 
On a road that's not for traveling
The broken road from the story of the Jax, perhaps? Felurian describes the moon as "not so. a traveler, yes. a wanderer, no. she moves but cannot freely go." 
Lackless likes her riddle raveling.
I'm assuming this is a reference to the fact that she ran off with one of the Edema Ruh

Lackless Poem:
Seven things stand before

The entrance to the Lackless door

One of them a ring unworn
The wooden ring again
One a word that is forsworn

One a time that must be right
I'm guessing this is that time when one can enter the Fae
One a candle without light

One a son who brings the blood
Foreshadowing to Kvothe? I thought for a moment it could be a reference to Iax, but the creation war was thousands of years before the name Lackless was changed from Loeclos. Then again, it's possible that the name in the song changed over the years to match the family's name. 
One a door that holds the flood
I'm wondering if this is the Doors of Stone. There have only been a few mentions of the doors of stone, and they mention putting troubling creatures or beings behind it. I wonder if they're the flood. 
One a thing tight-held in keeping

Then comes that which comes with sleeping.
Dreaming? Or naming. 

Dark Laurian, Arliden's wife
Has a face like a blade of a knife
Has a voice like a prickledown burr
But can tally a sum like a moneylender
My sweet Tally cannot cook.
But she keeps a tidy ledger-book
For all her faults I do confess
It's worth my life to make my wife
Not tally a lot less...

Not tally a lot less sounds rather like Netalia Lackless, and I imagine that that's the real reason that he found himself sleeping under the wagon. 

Doors of Stone:
The first time I noticed the Doors of Stone mentioned was in the story of Lanre. When he slayed the great beast it was set beyond the Doors of Stone. 

Felurian mentions it again. She mentions that the one who stole the moon is "shut beyond the doors of stone."

The Ctheath mentions the Doors of Stone as well (or so I believe) "Stick by the Maer and he will lead you to their door." So far, all the Maer led Kvothe to was the University, which leaves me with two theories, either Kvothe will find his way back to the Maer at some point (which seems pretty likely, as I believe he has the Lackless box), or the Doors of Stone are the same the doors in the Archives, or the door in the Archives is one of the Doors of Stone. 

Accidental Naming
We see several incidences of Kvothe accidentally stumbling upon names without realizing. Let me know if I've forgotten any.
-Keth-Selhan - "One Sock"
-Master Ash (I can't say this one for certain, but I think that with the help of the wind, Kvothe found this name for Cinder)
-Auri (assuming that's why Elodin decided to teach Kvothe)
-Spinning Leaf - This one might not be a case of accidental naming, but I think it was. It makes sense that to find the Lethani as the path of the Letantha does would require going into the Spinning Leaf.
-Ceasura - The poet killer. I'm hoping this means he will kill Ambrose. 

Although this isn't the same sort of naming you'd think of. Elodin mentions that there are seven words that will make a woman love you. I think that these seven words are different for each woman. Denna notes Kvothe's ability to do this, and he notes it himself with Losi "'For all that, she lacked your fire' and she loved me for those seven words".
I think that's a part of naming. 

I was hoping that some of my questions about Auri would be answered in her novella. I think it's quite likely she was a student of naming, it would explain why Elodin had sought her out so much, and had already felt rather responsible for her before he came across her with Kvothe. After reading the novella, I also think that she was studying alchemy and that could have just as much to do with her mental state as her study of naming. I think the key Auri gives Kvothe will be important later. I think it's rather like when a tinker tries to sell you something that seems random. You know you'll need it later. I wonder if it can be used to open the lackless box (even though there are no visible locks) since Auri says that it opens the moon. The wooden ring Auri gives Kvothe also raised questions for me. I wonder if she knows the name of wood, or if she just found it. It think it's pretty clear from that gift that she's not Vintish (though admittedly that still doesn't narrow things down too much). If she were she'd never have given Kvothe a wooden ring. The thing that made me wonder the most was her bottles of hair and blood. I can't help but wonder who she's hiding from, and if perhaps her past catching up with her made her crack, rather than the mentally dangerous nature of naming and the contact with potentially volatile alchemical processes. 

Random Foreshadowing:
I don't know that these will be relevant in the third book, but I'm always a fan of foreshadowing, so I'm including some.

In the first book, after he hears Skarpi's story and realizes that the Chandrian killed his family, Kvothe says "Kill the Chandrian? How could I even begin? I would have more luck trying to steal the moon. At least I knew where to look for the moon at night."