Past Present and Sfuture
Power over others is the basis of much tinfoil in these pages. If you know the name of something you have power over it. And everything has a name that can be seen. It is a three part name.
The most famous one is Maedre which means the Thunder, the Flame and the Broken Tree.
Vashet is not her true name, but her name’s meaning is still recorded as the Hammer, the Clay, the Spinning Wheel. Vashet, however, knows what these names mean and we do not. Now this name is going to last it’s owner a lifetime. This means that each name will apply to 1/3 of a life, and the simplest way to divide things is to use Occam’s Razor and cut a life into three unique parts. The start, the middle and the end. Puppet poses Kvothe a riddle.
‘Do you know what you have been, What you are not, and What you will be?’
Have been is Past tense, Will be is future tense, leaving What you are not for the present. Of course, anyone who knows there own name well enough will have perfect understanding of themselves, they will know everything that they are, which simultaneously would give them perfect knowledge of everything that they are not. Same answer, reverse approach. Clever puppet has hidden that last bit rather nicely I think.
Applying this formula to our two names gives us
Name Past Present Future
Maedre Flame Thunder Broken Tree
(Vashet) Hammer Clay Spinning Wheel
We are also told of Vashet that ‘I am that which shapes, sharpens or destroys.’ and she is currently living up to her middle name of teaching, a clay attribute since only that which bends can teach.. Becoming the hammer was a name she had won in her past, hammers also shape things, notably so in the story of Tehlu and the path. Her future here is the spinning wheel which sounds quite a hopeful future to me, a broken wheel would be clearly worse. Putting the clay as that which shapes leaves the hammer to be that which destroys and the spinning wheel to be that which sharpens. It would appear that our spinning wheel in question here is actually a grindstone on which she sharpens her students.
So applying this equation to Kvothe would imply Flame is his own past, Thunder is his present and his future is to become the Broken Tree. None of which is currently obvious, but these are the cards he has been dealt in life. In order to progress along his longnames foreordained path in life I would suggest that first he needs to control his voice, Kote attributes this part of his name to his strong baritone but the heart of the adem is stillness and silence and he is one of them now which suggests to me that the flame has passed and the thunder is now coming into play. When he gains Saicere it is said that maybe it will perhaps offset his name.
There is also a conversation where Tempi’s name is discussed. It is not so clear but implies that Tempi means little iron, and it means to strike iron and it means angry, his future was uncertain but he has been vindicated, perhaps he has left his past behind too.
Knowing your own name, knowing yourself, is the first step to power. Knowing what you are, and what you are not is the heart of the lethani since it allows correct action, and knowing the line between the two would give any such individual perfect control over any situation. Wasting strength is not of the lethani. The lethani does not destroy itself, whoever has knowledge of the lethani overcomes all things.The Lethani therefore grants perfect control over any given situation meaning that mastery of a situation is always only one perfect step away.
In The Fae, we may well get told two more three part names, Both the Cthaeh and Felurian make triple statements. The Cthaeh’s is weird because it’s past would be I am, implying that he always was, it’s present would be I see, which is true as he sees everything , and it’s future is I know, again a perfect description as it knows all possible futures, perfectly.
Felurian may well let slip her own three meanings, I think that she does when she swears by salt and stone and sky, singing and laughing by the sound of my own name.
She was the salt, she is the stone, and she will always be the unattainable sky. Blue! Blue! Blue!