‘…when I finally do find one it’s got five eyes: two greens, a blue, a brown and a chartreuse. Then the next one has only one eye and it changes colour..
Eye colour is important in these books and Arliden’s nonsense is a pretty good place to start. You can work out a lot from eyes which is lucky for us because it’s one of the more obvious building blocks that Pat has repeatedly provided the clues for us to work with and much ink is given over to talking about them. From the Adem’s ‘all eyes are grey eyes’ to Cinder’s being solid black ‘like a goat’ and then there are Faen eyes which turn into a solid bright white when the fae come into contact with iron. Then there is an ancient faen shaper of ‘the dark and changing eye’ and Selitos One-Eye too, we are told an awful lot about the specific eyes of certain folk from long, long ago and it’s all quite overwhelming to follow, although not a lot is given over to the individual colours of peoples eyes from way back then, that ink is reserved for adding a splash of colour to Kvothe’s own more recent observations. Perhaps the world was a bit more black and white in the old days.
The Eyes Have It
To kick things off, I’ll try working Arlidens problem out backwards for a bit and see if we can spot a pattern to work with. This latest line, to my mind, is best seen as a joke. Kvothe’s dad doesn’t really have these findings in his Lanre note book, It’s just Pat’s clever way of shoehorning the word ‘chartreuse’ into the narrative simply to justify it’s existence. The whole thing seems quite likely to be Pat’s little joke on all of us tinfoilers and our naming struggles in finding ways to describe things, like Blue! It’s like playing colours to a blind man, and I feel that he is probably not talking about the past as much as it is referencing the future, and the future is very complicated stuff indeed, the present day is hard enough at the moment.
Chartreuse a greenish yellow colour and if you are going to resort to using this obscure word for a particular eye colour shade then it is going to surely represent someone like our modern day hero Kvothe since it is remarked upon that his eyes are green with a ring of gold around the centre, and that is as close to being greeny/yellow as you are ever likely to find when talking about eyeballs. A blue and a brown are much easier to assign and since we already have Kvothe then these will do nicely for representing the eye colour of his closest friends Simmon and Wilem respectively. Our pair of green eyes are more tricky. Elodin and Mola would both qualify on this score, I would like this line of thinking to have also included Fela, or Denna but their eyes are reportedly dark, just like Wilem’s traditional Cealdish eyes are. Since we have already got Kvothe down as being the Chartreuse we ought to disqualify his green eyes from also being the same as the missing two greens and pick a candidate from the other two, however there is much to be said and written about Kvothe’s own colour-changing eyes which, such as during his first whipping, and as Wilem observes are known to darken quite perceptibly when he becomes… angry? As does The Chronicler.
‘Then he saw Kvothe’s[Kote’s] eyes. They had darkened to a green so dark they were nearly black.’
This inherrent brightness control Kvothe has is enough to give our hero/anti hero two different green colour possibilities of his own at the same time, and factoring in the ‘ring of gold’ too means that he is actually best suited in these books to represent all of these three green eyes by himself. The only other thought might be referencing the ‘three green butterfleyes’ from the Cthaeh’s tree when it speaks it’s knowledge of dark eyed Denna.
Kote’s eyes, however, appear to have lost their earlier golden ring somewhere along the road to Tinuë. Our favourite inn keepers eyes are also once said to be as ‘hard as iron’, and also as being ‘so pale a green they could almost have passed for grey’ His eyes are now distant and joyless and Older Kvothe is no longer the bright eyed boy he once was, but then again, he is also really one of the Adem at heart now and The Adem, of course, all have the same eye colour… Grey.
Adem grey does vary a bit, lighter or darker from face to face, but that might be something like the Kvothe factor of ‘anger’ or ‘Vaevin’ as grey eyed Penthe calls it, rising behind their usually expressionless faces, but this isn’t 50 Shaeds, and right now, all grey is one grey. And don’t even think about mentioning ‘Grey Dalcenti’… just…don’t.
Maedre is the only exception to the Adem eye rule and it is true to say when he was initiated into their ranks he was presented to Magwyn for inspection and she read his name and his fate in his hands, his voice, and… his eyes. What she actually and physically saw before her was a chartreuse eyed, flame haired, ex barbarian, musician Adem… bloody weirdo. I blame the parents.
That only grey eyes exist here is testimony to the purity of the Adem bloodlines and it also dictates that the Ultimate Adem matriarch clearly had grey eyes too, as per Arlidens assertion on the subject. Say what you like about man mothers, all the men have grey eyes as well which confirms the theory beyond doubt. All the Adem have grey eyes, and the grey of their races eyes is as distinctive as the grey of their special swords, a legacy from before the days of the creation war and the long forgotten Ergen Empire. It might be true to say that every Adem ever since the days of the creation war, probably Aethe and Rethe too, and almost certainly Saicere’s 237 previous bearers were all grey eyed Adem (unless some omnipotent being decided to step in, change everything to a new design and start all over again!) It’s a standout feature of the race, like the dark skin of the Cealdim or the red hair of Yll. Subsequently, we should also be able to assume that if you ever saw anyone else with grey eyes then it could be a sign that they might even have a bit of Adem in their family history somewhere. The Maer has grey eyes you know…
That is how I translate the second of Arliden’s eye quotes. It is Pat’s little joke about the perils of attempting future prediction. Such study will do you no good whatsoever here because this is a History book.
‘A historical basis for Lanre? All the signs point to it, It’s like looking at a dozen grandchildren and seeing ten of them have blue eyes. You know the grandmother had blue eyes, too’
Arliden’s earlier line, though, is where the clues of the past lie, History you can trust enough to write a song about, ‘Beneath the Walls’ was Arliden’s song where he used this method of extrapolation, Maybe it is a song about the Underthing? although I doubt that very much. Bedrock might be a good word to think about here, or does he mean a tunnel? A way in or out of somewhere secure, or a stony secret discovered deep underground? Hmmm. But that’s a discussion for another day. The important thing here is that we are told that it is accepted knowledge that mothers generally, (but not always), pass along the genetic eye colour down to their children. Man mothers need not apply.
This earlier and more generalised statement from Arliden is more like his own findings should be, and he is saying that if one can only pin down the pattern then it should really supply the missing link that we are looking for. It the eyes really do have it, then we should be able to see it clearly too, but isolating that link into our own search of ancient timelines is still bloody hard to prove. Arliden was talking about Lanre who was the focus of his whole song and he was clearly not talking about his own son’s snot coloured eyes or his unseen future, he was not claiming to be a Turagior. Arliden was actually doing exactly what we are doing and coming to the same sort of conclusions, the truth is out there to be found. His analogy is more useful to me right now because it helps point out another nugget of tinfoil I discovered from the very bottom of the Lackless green-gold mine.
A Golden Ring
Kvothe gets his eyes from his mother, he admits as much to Denna, and we hear of Laurian that
‘Her eyes were green with a ring of gold around the pupil’
Which you must admit is pretty definite proof that, regardless of where his red hair may have come from in the genepool mix, Kvothe is definitely Laurian’s trueborn son and is not some weird fairy foundling child, swapped over at birth as the faerie tales spun about him that some folk might have you believe. So where did Laurian herself inherit her own quite extraordinary eye appearance from? The answer is clearly that she gets them from her own mothers side of the family.Laurian has Lackless eyes and these specific ‘golden ring’ eye markings are unique in the world that we see at large and probably indicate something rather important.
Do all the Lackless women have them? No. Meluan Lackless is described as being dark-eyed but Arliden’s maths don’t rule out their relationship being true and one of them is probably the black sheep of the family whilst the other is following the family tradition. But which one is which? Kvothe’s own eyeball inheritance doubles up his mum’s score to make it 2:1 to the chartreuse as being the answer among what we know of the lackless family tree, which would mean that if we are correct in our assumptions about eyesight inheritance then we need to answer the question ‘did the ultimate great grandmother Lackless have her own ring of gold around her own eyes?’
Now, DM Pat isn’t going to leave a whopping great clue like that lying around for all to see, simply stating that Lady Perials eyes match Kvothe’s eyes is far too obvious, especially as this is an old family secret, and the Lackless family are chock full of hidden secrets. If we are going to tease the links out gently to make a workable triangle then I think that we can accept that it would be enough for the Gold, Ring and Eye to make an appearance in the same sentence when analysing our Perial’s description from the tale fromTrapis, and if it is there to be found then that will surely be enough proof to confirm the theory that the original and ultimate founding Lady Lackless is being none other than Great* Granny Perial.What we actually get told is this.
‘When he touched her she felt like she were a great golden bell that had just rung out her first note. She opened her eyes and knew that it had been no normal dream.
Lord Aleph going around touching folk is paramount to how they have their own longnames changed into something they were not. His touch also turned the chosen ruach into angels, and whilst these ruach, along with everyone else in the world, also felt the touch of Tehlu’s iron hammer, Perial, uniquely, did not, and instead of the mark of iron he left his own gold mark upon Perial instead and it was written for all to see in her eyes from that day onwards. That means that one of the Perial family secrets is that she, and her trueborn heirs, quite literally, view the world through gold tinted glasses.
Yes I know that there is a huge difference between a physical ring of gold, an ocular impairment and the ringing sound of a golden bell, but that is how riddles work! by hiding the answering words cleverly in plain sight, just like Arlidens clever play on ‘not Tally a lot less’, only a lot better hidden.
The joke is on us though as whilst this last tinfoil nugget should close the case for the accused, symbolism of this kind just makes us think about the next riddle on the list, which is the line from the Seven things have Lady Lackless riddle that begins ‘One a ring that’s not for wearing.’