15 Crackpot Theories, Unsubstantiated Rumors, and Imaginary Spoilers for Day Three of the Kingkiller Chronicles
Patrick Rothfuss does not want you to ask him when Book Three is coming out.
If you are a sad and deprived person and have no idea what I’m talking about, he is the author of fantasy tome The Name of the Wind, the even tomier sequel The Wise Man’s Fear, and slim spin-off The Slow Regard of Silent Things, which is 170 pages or so about a crazy girl making soap. A long time ago in a 2007 far away, I picked up The Name of the Wind because I wanted to know why Orson Scott Card was recommending to me what looked like the worst romance novel ever about a shirtless ginger and his phallic
Then I read the jacket cover, then I read the prologue, and then I stayed up very late into the night and the next day reading nonstop about Kvothe’s troubled, orphaned childhood and his quest to find the Chandrian as he sings, romances, and destroys churches. (Basically he’s like a male Hermione if she hadn’t been weighed down by that jag-off Harry Potter.) And now Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles is mentioned in the same breath as Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time and George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire both for their epic popularity and their inability to ever finish.
It’s been five years since the publication of The Wise Man’s Fear, and numerous major questions remain.
Since Pat is currently honing The Doors of Stone beneath the fine whetstone of his mind (literally causing me to have fantasies about breaking into his house and stealing the text file), I will try to codify and answer these questions that burn at me like a hot case of crabs. I owe a strong debt to author Jo Walton’s Tor Reread and her commentators, the interwebs, and some guy named thistlepong.
These theories are ranked in levels of certainty from “Etched in Stone with Saint’s Blood” to slightly less certain.
Etched in Stone with Saint’s Blood
1) Kvothe’s mother is Netalia Lackless.
This is pretty definitive, from the way he vaguely recognizes Meluan, to his mother’s reaction to the Lady Lackless song, and most importantly, to his father’s song that he relates to Wil and Sim in WMF about “not tally a lot less.” Done.
2) The Edema Ruh and Ademre arrive from the same origin.
This actually strongly mirrors Robert Jordan’s marriage and divorce of the nomadic, pacifist Tinkers and the warrior Aiel. Every blinking sign points to this. The Edema love their music, and the Adem have a complicated sexy relationship with it. And say “Edema Ruh” five times fast.
3) Lorne is Amyr.
He hates Kvothe looking up anything to do with the Chandrian and Amyr, has control over the careful pruning of the archives. My favorite subtlety is when he holds his hand out in rebuke, the signature gesture of these pseudo angels.
I Would Wager My Secondborn, But Not the First
5) Denna’s patron is Bredon.
She’s beaten with his wolf-headed walking stick. He’s powerful, mysterious, and like me, has a strange fondness for depraved pagan rituals in his backyard. He’s also described as learning to dance, where Denna mentions he’s “surprisingly light on his feet.” I’m unclear on the pagan rituals, but that sounds like foreshadowing.
6) Simmon will die.
The dude is dead. There is a strong sense of sweet reminiscence when it comes to Simmon, described as a gentle, boyishly cheerful soul, much more so than Wil or Fela or even Auri. I don’t know how he dies or why, but poor Sim is not coming back. Honestly, I don’t feel great about Fela’s survival either.
Gently Sketched Out in Chalk and Dreams on Ancient Papyrus Clouds
It’s time to answer some major questions of the Kingkiller Chronicles.
7) Who is the king Kvothe kills? What is alliteration?
Roderick will die. Let’s keep it clean and simple. The soldiers in the present frame story are wearing the white and blue of Maer Alveron. There is a cryptic reference by the Maer that Roderick will be brought to grief by allowing people to stay armed in his presence in the courts of Renere. The real question is how the war of ascension plays out. Rothfuss has already mentioned the peerage in line for the throne. We know Aculeus Lackless (believed to be Bredon in some circles) and Meluan are players, as is Ambrose.
Ambrose is too inorganic a choice to be the king killed, and he’s too far down the list (13th in WMF). I could easily see Roderick dying of semi-natural causes and Kvothe killing King Lerand Alveron later as well.
8) Who is Princess Ariel?
Princess Ariel is the only princess mentioned so far in KKC (non-mermaid division). At the beginning of NOTW, Kvothe tells us he rescues a princess back from sleeping barrow kings. You do the math. The draugar (undead spirits) are also mentioned to be a Vintas superstition, so my guess is that she is King Roderic’s daughter. Also, barrows have so far been shown to have treasures, similar to the non-barrow in NOTW where the Mauthen family finds the Chandrian urn-pot. I suspect we’re getting some Chandrian-related knowledge here.
9) What’s in the box? WHAT’S IN THE BOX?
Unfortunately, Brad Pitt is not here to tell us what’s in the Loeclos Box, so we must make do. One theory believes that it is the piece of mountain glass that Selitos uses to put out his eye, thereby imbuing it with all sorts of blood magic sympathy residue. The same theory finds that Selitos is the Cthaeh (since the wood of the box is described in the same terms as the tree). The synergy of the theory appeals to me, as I also wondered why Tehlu is considered the greatest of the Amyr. Where did Selitos go? What’s up with Aleph? And it makes perfect sense that Selitos can see far and wide and that Cinder did him “a bad turn.”
However, I am skeptical that Selitos is the Cthaeh. If Lanre spoke to the Cthaeh before the betrayal of Myr Tariniel and the same for Iax and the moon, this disrupts the chronology of Skarpi’s story. Granted, we know how easy it is for stories to change and evolve from the truth, but I believe it’s actually a piece of the moon. How many times have the words “easier to get a piece of the moon” been used? Could it even be one of those namer’s rings made from the moon?
Monkey Throwing Darts at a Dartboard, Except the Darts are Poo, and the Dartboard is the Universe
10) The moon is a woman.
Rothfuss mentioned in an AMA that it might be important to look at the moon through a telescope. In Hespe’s story, the moon is a woman called Ludis, which seems like a poetic metaphor. It strikes me as a piece of Rothfussian skullduggery that he would make a metaphor actual truth and leave it in plain sight. After all, I own his non-children children’s books The Adventures of Princess and Mr. Whiffle (illustrated by the great Nate Taylor). We know he’s a major fan of Neil Gaiman, and I would not be shocked to see him cribbing from Stardust. My major problem with this theory is that it lacks some of the verisimilitude that colors the worldbuilding of Temerant and the Fae.
11) How does Kvothe find the Amyr? Does he kill one?
In NOTW, Chronicler recounts how he has heard of a story how Kvothe has to trick a demon and kill an angel to attain his heart’s desire. He also heard about his Imre trial, and while mostly accurate, it wasn’t exactly central to Kvothe’s story. And what is Kvothe’s heart’s desire? Denna? Revenge against the Chandrian? If I had to guess, it’s likely something small and tangible like the Loeclos Box in the long tradition of MacGuffins, but Rothfuss wouldn’t be the first to disentangle himself from that old trope. I also like mean ol’ Andan for the one Kvothe kills because of the amount of times he and Ordal are mentioned or hell–maybe mean ol’ Selitos. That particularly theory is starting to worm its way into my brain. Either way, it’ll be a fight over a weapon or information to be used against the Chandrian.
12) What happens to Kvothe’s sword Caesura, and how does it get exchanged for Folly?
If I had to guess, from Cinder. I have very other little evidence to support this.
13) What is Denna’s fate?
She has to be tied to the Chandrian in some manner, especially with her Song of the Seven Sorrows. We know Bast has to see her once, so perhaps she makes it to Fae and the Courts of the Telwyth Mael, but that’s not a given. Obviously something horrible happens to her, or she betrays Kvothe in some horrific way. My guess is that Kvothe meets Cinder again, gets that unhealing scar mentioned at the beginning of NOTW, and loses her all in one go. Though that might violate the Cthaeh’s comment about meeting Cinder as a “twice in a lifetime” experience.
14) Kvothe steals the moon.
This goes against my “moon = woman” theory, sort of. All those Denna-moon parallels might make sense then. Kvothe is always reaching too far, sharing plenty of parallels with Iax, who is shut beyond the doors of stone. It’s a nice bookend.
The Big One
15) What is the Chandrian’s purpose?
The Sanskrit word for “moon” is “Chandra.” I’m going to go out on a limb and say it has something to do with the moon. I could see this going two ways. Rothfuss has made it clear again and again that he believes in small-scale stories. I could easily see this being a small, personal motivation. The Kingkiller Chronicles is meant to be a somewhat messy Casanova-inspired autobiography of Kvothe. I wouldn’t be shocked if the purpose of the Chandrian is less world-shaking than we expect. And in narrative terms of authors, it’s always hard to land the plane. The action and the mystery are easy. The ending and the big reveal are the hardest.
On the other hand, he has also stepped into the epic-sized shoes with the stealing of the moon, the Creation War, and the betrayal of the seven cities. I think Rothfuss has made narrative promises with the Chandrian’s secret purpose, and he has to fulfill them.
And what the heck is up with the connection between Haliax/Alaxel and Iax?
Insane guess: Lyra is the moon.
Slightly more sane guess: Lyra has a strong connection to the moon, and we’re going to learn a lot more about her. She is the missing piece of this story. And she is the only one who seems to be able to grant Haliax death.
If I’m right, you’ll know because my dead body will be found amidst the blue flame and rust and rotting wood.
Questions I Didn’t Answer
What’s up with Dagon and Caudicus?
What happens with Ambrose?
What is in the thrice-locked chest and behind the four-plate door?
Will Taborlin play a large role with the Chandrian’s backstory?
How many shirts will Kvothe end up with?
What is up with Bast and Kvothe?
Did his ass really fall off?
Alas, I’d have an easier time throwing a rock and hitting the moon than knowing all these answers for true. If you’re a psychic who’s read Pat’s mind or just a fan, share your seven words in the comments.