Deeper and Deeper
The University is Old. Elodin tells us of it being built on the site of a previous university, and even hints at a university before then. This site has always been a seat of learning, maybe even as far back as the days of Lady Lyra of Belen who once learnt the name of the wind and walked these streets like a tiny god. Belen is where Teccam has built the current university around the four plate door and the archives are the walls that keep this secret hidden. the archives themselves were built by the university’s secret amyr members , probably by using the name of stone since naming is the basis of all power and this is an edifice to their prowess. It is the most impressive building in the world, Caluptena excepted…perhaps. We hear nothing of it’s construction but it has a purpose and it is perfect at it’s job. No windows, Only one door* it is a fortress to the preservation of knowledge and none are allowed in who’s names aren’t in the book. Dangerous things lie within these windowless stone walls and that is where they will stay, inside, safe as anywhere can be from the likes of Devi who longs to find a way back in to poke about in it’s secrets. It is basically a prison.
It rather sounds like the place that Taborlin the Great was imprisoned in, long ago in a solid stone room that no man had ever escaped from, until he told the stone to BREAK, and the stone broke. But this stone is not broken because being shaped for purpose it is as unbreakable as all perfect things are and you couldn’t damage it if you tried. Nothing can get in, and nothing can get out, well that’s the theory anyway.
This would all make Selitos the warden and the amyr his prison guards. He once was, and indeed still is, the most powerful See’er in the land. Many of the current masters are also namers in their own right, indeed it might almost be expected that they would all have a name tucked away in their heads to achieve their rank, part of the pecking order among the ciridae so to speak. Elxa Dal and Elodin admit they are namers in their own right, Kilvin too, perhaps, although it is not something you really talk about, back in the older times your enemy could guess your strengths and weaknesses if such things were widely known, and the Amyr have a particular enemy that they wish to confound. We also know that the ex-pupils Abenthy and Chronicler learnt their names here and they have since gone out into the world with this invisible protection always close at hand…literally, since Ben must have owned a ring of wind if you think about it. But of the current masters, they must be considered to be the most powerful men in all the world today. Tiny Gods who can do wonderful and terrible things and rule the world if they so desired. but instead… they choose to teach. Why they do not exercise such power only God knows, and I’ll ask him about that later. But other powers come with naming and before they discovered how to speak names and became Re’lar, they were first E’lir, and that means that they had already gone beyond mere looking and had learnt how to see the true shape of certain things.
Just by looking at a thing Selitos could see it’s hidden name and understand it. In those days there were many who could do such things but Selitos was the most powerful namer of anyone alive in that age. Such was the power of his sight that he could read the hearts of men like heavy lettered books.
Now a man is not an object, that much is explained, yet fire would also appear to be an object beyond mortal ken, I mean where do you start? fire is an exothermic chemical reaction, but is it a thing? it undoubtedly has something lifelike about it but you couldn’t look into it’s eyes and read it’s heart it doesn’t have eyes, it doesn’t have a heart, but knowing the name of fire will bend it to your will and this is what can be done with the right power. The hearts of men are different though, man is a complex creature of many parts but sometimes common people can read the tell tale signs and know what is going on behind the eyes. shifty looks are the least of it, facial expressions can be read quite easily, there are signs that show secrets if you know how to look.
Puppet on a string
‘Oh dear me, See what I see. The head bows slightly. The jaw clenches, but the eyes aren’t fixed on anything, aiming the irritation inward. If I were the sort of person who judged by looking, I’d guess Wilem has just lost a bet.’
Puppet is not a looker, he is a See’er and doesn’t need his eyes to see the truth. Keeping your emotions under control is where power begins, The Adem are masters at this and thus their thoughts cannot be read by their enemies giving them an advantage in battle, Why do they do this? do they have something else to hide? is there something secret about them that makes them so? Powerful people keep knowledge hidden, mind reading is possible and gives you power over lesser men, If you can see someone’s inner thoughts and secrets then you could read their long names and then you would have power over them.
And as for one of the fae… well, the complexity in knowing their names is such that if you knew how difficult it was you would never have stood a chance of doing it!
During the battle with Felurian Kvothe sees her name written in her twilight eyes, ‘four clear lines of song’, the name of Felurian herself is not merely written to be read, it is a song to be sung! an endless eternal infinite song cycle which sounds throughout her very being for those with the power to see it (Just Kvothe then, basically, the master wind namer superior) and at that moment, if he had so desired, Kvothe could have splashed about in her thoughts and memories like a child in a muddy puddle. She was his to command, he saw the name behind the eyes and sang this song of power. The eyes are the windows to the soul it is said and so this is therefore an example of Kvothe reading the heart of Felurian ‘like a heavy lettered book’, he instantly knew her and everything about her, or rather his sleeping mind did and thus he had power over her and could have learnt all her secrets and made her dance helpless to his desire, a puppet on a string.
It gets worse than that thoug, Bast tells us of the skin dancers who once inside you can make you Bite.Out.Your.Own.Tongue! Kvothe could have done this to her but the thought sickened him, something about this was wrong, the lethani stopped him from wrong action. He could have thrown her to the wind like a sheet of paper but that would be like breaking Illien’s lute, or burning down a library. He was remined of ‘ripping the wings from a butterfly’ and that is the province of another…
, Back in mortal, we are told that Selitos wasn’t the only one who could do this, many could do such things, anyone who knows any names is on the right path to understanding the complex issues of reading the hearts of people. Earlier I hypothesised that this is how long lived Skarpi must have known Kvothe’s name without it ever being mentioned, and for lack of any further reason, I surmise that five thousand tears of practice would only improve anyone’s skill in mastering this upper level of understanding short lived barbarians. Those in the know about such things would include any other survivors from that era, be they singer, or Amyr or Sithe… or Chandrian! Kvothe may have been ‘read’ by Cinder during their encounter, it sort of feels a bit the same before Haliax intervenes… if you want it to… perhaps, perhaps not. Think about that one for homework.
What’s in a name?
We do get a few more guaranteed examples of name knowing to compare though, Elodin could look at kvothe ‘as if you were a book he was idly thumbing through’, that is stated when he receives his Adem name, and Magwyn gets deliberately put in this same unique category of powerful people when she looks Kvothe fully in the eye for his name reading. For the barest of moments he was worried she may be startled by what she saw, indeed Vashet seems very dismayed at hearing what his inner and secret name means. Magwyn looked at Kvothe and saw his true inner name, just like he saw Felurian’s true name earlier…I wonder if it was/is felanua? hmmm. more homework.
His name is not Kvothe, which we are told means ‘to know’, but the true ‘long’ name which is written inside him is Maedre which means ‘flame’, and ‘thunder’ and ‘broken tree’ and that is his name using not only the ancient language but of the universe.
‘Do you know what you have been, what you are not, and what you will be?’
Selitos said that and he knows about such things. It is not a riddle, it is a fact and therefore a prediction. Kvothe is the flame, he is not the thunder… and he will become the broken tree.
Such is the way of things, and Kote has become the broken tree , one of his hands doesn’t work properly anymore. That prediction is what shocked Vashet, to hear of another’s broken fate. Her own destination for those who like a happy ending is ‘the spinning wheel’, she gets to go around again and again, like a windmill but Kvothe will not, his circle is doomed to be broken. He is now experiencing Maedre#3 in all it’s glory and this story is going to end in tragedy. He is now called Kote which may mean expect or equally likely could mean disaster in Siaru, another of the old languages of Ergen…. which might mean that in changing his name, Kvothe has become… Cealdish!
Elodin is master Namer and he has the surest grasp of such things of anyone we know. He is so in tune with the world that it bubbles out of his every pore. Elodin can ask the right kind of questions any time he wants,one could say that he has this gift in spades. He can see things perfectly at all times. He is a see’er. He gives us the most curious of unanswered questions during admissions, a question that Manet has already predicted will come to pass.
Elodin gave me a wicked, knowing grin and I was suddenly struck with the fear that he might reveal my part of what we had done in Hemme’s rooms that morning.’
But instead of that we get another secret that the masters should not know anything about, his poor card playing with Manet had previously led to the eternal E’lir stating
‘Here’s a primer for admissions, you have three spades in your hand and there have been five played, how many spades is that?’
It sounds like a joke but come admissions and that is exactly what Elodin asked. Verbatim. The general conclusion? collusion? possiblyit’s as simple as that, but why? and for what purpose? Manet has been around the masters for a long, long time. He used to be a trusted scriv and is more trusted than many of the gillers despite never advancing his official lowly status. He probably knows this trick well and usually keeps his mouth shut, except when he has been drinking. Given what I have just explained I think that knowledgeable Manet deliberately left this exact thought inside Kvothe’s sleeping mind knowing that master Namer could pluck it back out again like a plum, as if Kvothe’s mind was a book with a dog eared corner telling him exactly where to look for such a thing. That is what see’ers can do if they are skilled enough, and if have the desire, they can completely control your thoughts and actions, they can play games with your mind like hypnotists, they can read the hearts of men like heavy lettered books they can make you bite.out.your.own.tongue. This is what Bast says the dancers can do, this is what all the fae can do, this is what accomplished Namers can do. Yes, this is far fetched theory at first, but the evidence is there to be denied. Some of the masters at the university are on the shortlist of current Namers abroad in the world and the Namers once walked the streets like tiny gods. Elxa Dal knows two names. Elodin knows more! do all the masters have this power? does Kilvin know any names? would they all have to know names to reach the level of master and therefore potentially could all be mind-readers too? These are interesting questions, and there are a few interesting questions asked during admissions. And so it is time to investigate the masters themselves since the undeniable Cthaeh suggested they might know some secret things about the chandrian, if you Kvothe was to ask, which he won’t, so we shall do it on his behalf. We are introduced to them in Hollows, between the maple trees, beneath the stained glass window of Teccam in a classic pose, barefoot in front of his cave, teaching students. The action takes place in a room under the spotlight of a window shaped like the Iron Wheel of Atur, if the 10Æ artwork and all the little clues in them are to be believed (nice one Nate*). The masters asking the questions are deemed to all be potential members of the ancient and powerful order Amyr, and they give some revealing clues about themselves in doing so.
I’m out on the edge of things now, I will admit that, but if it were easy to do this then someone else would have been done it by now, this is deep level tinfoil. The masters are very, very astute if nothing else, Puppet has already displayed his understanding of things, that is what defines a master of any craft, but the masters own questions reveal intimate little details about the individual speakers true motives and so deserve a second look through tinfoil spectacles. Two main admissions are featured, one in each book, so first and foremost we shall look again at the infamous, less three talents.