- "I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs to make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me."
- ―Kvothe to Chronicler[src]
|Kvothe, son of Arliden|
Maedre, Dulator, Shadicar,
Kvothe is the main character in the Kingkiller Chronicle. He is known by many names and titles, including Kote, Reshi, Maedre, Dulator, Shadicar, Lightfinger, Sixstring, Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, and Kvothe Kingkiller.
Abenthy eventually left the troupe, much to Kvothe's dismay, and his education was cut short. Months afterward, Kvothe's troupe were killed by the Chandrian for "singing entirely the wrong sort of songs". Kvothe fled the scene of destruction into the nearby woods with nothing but his fathers lute. He spent nearly half a year recovering, completely alone. During this time he learned to play the lute so well he could conjure specific feelings and images with the notes. However, he was eventually forced to leave the forest when too many of his lute strings broke. After days of walking, and with a little help from a humble farmer named Seth, he reached Tarbean.
On Kvothe's first day in Tarbean his father's lute was broken while he was robbed, and beaten by street urchins, specifically one named Pike, who Kvothe later harbors a grudge against. Kvothe, afterward, intends to go home with Seth, but instead becomes lost in the city. By the time he gets back to where the Seth's wagon was, he is gone. This leads to Kvothe's three years of begging, stealing, and simply trying to survive on the streets of Tarbean.
While in Tarbean, Kvothe struggles to find food but does eventually find a well hidden shelter where three roofs meet together above Tarbean's candleworks. The hovel also has the top of the candleworks chimney running through it, providing Kvothe with warmth throughout his stay in the city. Once Kvothe sees another child being beaten and robbed from his hiding place, but does nothing to stop it as he is afraid and does not want to give away his secret place. Later as Kote, Kvothe expresses his remorse at his inaction and describes this moment as an important point in his life that lead to the man they know today.
Kvothe learns the in's and out's of being a street urchin, in most cases by hard lessons. Once, he gets the idea to go begging in the Hillside, the upperscale neighborhood of Tarbean, where he might earn better money. Instead, he is caught by a guardsmen and beaten so severely he nearly dies. He is found laying in the snow by a man dressed as the demon Encanis. The man and his partner assist Kvothe, but must leave him to engage in further festival activities. It is shortly after this that Kvothe becomes terribly ill and seeks out the help of Trapis, a man who has taken it upon himself to care for the discarded children of the city. It is from Trapis that Kvothe (and the audience) hears the story of Tehlu and Encanis. After Kvothe is well again, he becomes very fond of Trapis, often visiting to assist him and work for food.
Later in his times in Tarbean, Kvothe locates Pike, the boy that destroyed his fathers lute, and stalks him back to where he has made his home in an alley full of crates. Kvothe observes the young man and finds that he has personal belongings he seems to cherish. When the boy leaves his shelter, Kvothe steals down into it and destroys everything. He is caught by Pike, but escapes. Afterward, Kvothe knows they will be enemies, so does his best to avoid places they might meet each other, this includes the Docksides of Tarbean.
After Kvothe's encounter with Pike, he hears of the storyteller Skarpi, who tells stories in The Half Mast, a bar in Dockside. It is rumored Skarpi has an open wager to any person who can request a story he does not know. Kvothe wishes to hear the story of Lanre, but is also wary of going to Dockside. He finally decides to go and requests the story of Lanre. After Skarpi tells the story, Kvothe has a short meeting with him where he agrees to return the following night. Kvothe arrives late to the meeting and comes in during the story of Myr Tariniel. Shortly thereafter Skarpi is arrested for blasphemy, however during his arrest Skarpi calls the name of Kvothe, and tells him to run. After this occurance Kvothe decides to leave Tarbean, and we do not hear from Skarpi again in the story. It does, however, seem Skarpi will play a role later, as he was somehow instrumental in the meeting of Chronicler and Kote in the frame story.
Later, Kvothe sells all his possesions, including his book Rhetoric and Logic, which was a gift from Abenthy. He does, however, get a reciept for the book so he might purchase it back someday. After this, he bids farewell to Trapis and secures himself a place on a caravan lead by Roent. While traveling in the caravan he met Denna for the first time, but must leave her behind when they reach the University.
The University Edit
- "The University! I had come to think of it in the same way most children think of the Fae court, a mythical place reserved for dreaming about. A school the size of a small town. Ten times ten thousand books. People who would know all the answers to any question I ever asked."
- ―Kvothe to Chronicler[src]
Kvothe was accepted into the University, and entered the Arcanum within three days. In his time at the University, he made friends with Wilem, Simmon, Fela, and Manet in particular. He was banned from the Archives and feuded with a young noble named Ambrose. He was reunited with Denna, he visited Trebon in search of the Chandrian, was raised to Re'lar, and was brought up against the iron law.
First Term (Spring Term)Edit
Kvothe famously gains admission to the University under virtually unheard-of circumstances, at an extremely young age (fifteen years old) and with the University paying him to attend, rather than having to pay tuition as per usual. He meets Simmon , Wilem, Manet, and Sovoy immediately, and gets a bunk in Mews. He then heads to the Archives, where he has his first run-in with Ambrose Jakis, who will not allow him admission to the Archives because he has not yet had his name entered in "the book."
Kvothe's first class is Principles of Sympathy with Master Hemme, a course far below the knowledge he already possesses as a result of his studies with Abenthy. At the end of the class, he tells Hemme as much, and is summarily dismissed. Afterwards he returns to the Archives, meets Fela, is admitted to Tomes, and discovers that even the University Archives does not have much information readily available on the Chandrian or the Amyr. The following day, Hemme attempts to embarass Kvothe by having him teach the class for the day. Kvothe elects to lecture about the three basic laws of sympathy, and turns the embarassment back upon Hemme, as well as giving him a "sympathetic hot foot" without knowing that what he was doing could be considered malfeasance. That evening, he is called on the horns to face charges of unauthorized use of sympathy and malfeasance. He quickly has them replaced with reckless use of sympathy, of which he is found guilty and sentenced to three lashes. In addition, however, he is admitted to the Arcanum, having proven that he had mastered the basic principles of sympathy. Hereafter he is considered E'lir Kvothe. After the hearing, Master Kilvin instructs him to bypass the basic Artificing class in which he had enrolled and instead report directly to him in his workshop.
Ever the showman, Kvothe takes nahlrout before his whipping the next day, which helps dull his pain, keep him alert, and stops him from bleeding under the lash. He also removes his shirt, though that is really done to save a shirt he cannot afford to replace as much as it is to show off. He does not cry out or collapse, and leaves the courtyard under his own power to head to the Medica. Master Arwyl realizes after a few minutes that Kvothe has taken nahlrout, and discovers that Kvothe has some basic physiker skills. Mola arrives to stitch him up, and she and Kvothe meet for the first time. Arwyl invites him to study at the Medica.
Kvothe goes to the Archives again, now able to access the Stacks as a member of the Arcanum. However, Ambrose tricks him into taking a candle in, which gets him banned from the Archives by Master Lorren.
Later, Kvothe hears some of Master Elodin's history, and seeks him out to ask about studying Naming. Elodin toys with him a bit, then takes him to Haven to show him what the hazards of studying Naming can be. Here Elodin instructs Kvothe to jump off the roof, which he does, thinking Elodin will stop him from falling by calling the wind. Elodin does not, and instead tells Kvothe that he is too impulsive and rash to study Naming. Kvothe decides to focus on Artificing.
Kvothe begins to spreading rumors about himself to augment those already being told, and his reputation begins to spread. His feud with Ambrose develops into an ongoing enmity. He finishes the term by focusing on studying in the Medica and the Fishery most aggressively.
Second Term (Summer term)Edit
In order to pay tuition for his second term, Kvothe seeks out a gaelet and is directed to Devi, who gives him the first of several loans he will eventually take from her. She uses her clients' blood as collateral if they have nothing of value to put up, which Kvothe resists at first but eventually agrees to. He purchases his first lute since his father's was broken in Tarbean.
Kvothe is allowed to study sygaldry under Kilvin's giller Cammar, which takes him seven days rather than the month or even whole term that most students spend. He achieves this largely by setting all one hundred ninety seven runes to a song, which he is able to reference mentally with ease. He is then apprenticed to Manet.
In addition to Artificing, his studies include the Medica, Mathematics, and advanced sympathy with Elxa Dal. His schedule eventually begins to wear on him and around the fifth span he begins to burn out. He remains undefeated in sympathetic dueling, but Wilem and Simmon speak to Kilvin and have him banned from working extra hours in the shop due to his exhaustion.
With a spot of extra time in his schedule, Kvothe decides to look into playing at the Eolian. While practicing in a quiet secluded courtyard, he gradually befriends a timid young girl who lives beneath the University in a network of tunnels and caverns she calls "the Underthing." Kvothe names her Auri and generally keeps their relationship and meetings secret. Willem and Simmon accompany Kvothe to the Eolian when he decides to try for his talent pipes. He plays "The Lay of Sir Savien Traliard", a very difficult song which requires a female accompaniment. He hopes that amongst the talented performers in the Eolian, one will step up and sing the harmony when the time comes. One does after a tense moment of hesitation, and the song goes wonderfully, despite (or partly because of) the fact that a string breaks on his lute during the performance. He wins his talent pipes, figures out that Ambrose used sympathy to break his lute string (giving himself binder's chills in the process and leaving as soon as the performance was over), and discovers after much searching that Denna was the woman to step in and sing the Aloine harmony in the song. She is at the Eolian with Sovoy, going by the name of Dianne.
During admissions week, he makes an arrangement to be a house musician at the Horse and Four. Here, Kvothe and Count Threpe write "Jackass, Jackass" and perform it at the Eolian. Kvothe buys back his copy of Rhetoric and Logic from Master Lorren, and tries unsuccessfully to get his ban from the Archives rescinded. Ambrose charges Kvothe with Conduct Unbecoming a Member of the Arcanum because of the song, however the Masters replace the charge with Undignified Mischief. Three days later, the Hourse and Four is sold to a new owner who tells Kvothe that he is no longer needed. It seems that Ambrose has arranged for the purchase, and also vaguely threatened all of the reputable inns saying hiring Kvothe would cause a lot of trouble. Anker, partly because he needs a musician and partly just to thumb his nose at Ambrose, takes Kvothe in, giving him a small room and access to meals when he is around in exchange for playing four nights a span.
Kvothe finishes the term "not quite sixteen" years old.
Third Term (Fall Term)Edit
Kvothe limits himself to three fields of study, choosing Advanced Sympathy, a shift in the Medica, and his apprenticeship under Manet.
Denna returns to town, and finds Kvothe at Anker's. They go for a six-hour walk, and the next day she vanishes again, leaving her bill unpaid at the Oaken Oar, where she had been using the name Dinnah.
Kvothe graduates his apprenticeship with Manet by making his customized bulls-eye sympathy lamp, and gets Manet to accidentally reveal that there is a secret way into the Archives.
Denna returns, and meets Simmon and Wilem at the Eolian. They spend the evening in one another's company, and make plans to meet the following day.
The next morning, Kvothe saves Fela from a bone-tar fire in the Fishery and misses his appointment with Denna. He is so poor he cannot even afford to replace the clothes damaged in the fire until some of his work at the Fishery sells, and then he can only buy some used boots. He sees Fela at the Eolian and she gives him a fine new cloak as partial thanks for saving her from the fire. She also declares herself indebted to him. He briefly spots Denna leaving, and worries that she will think he spurned her for Fela, but doesn't chase her.
Two thugs armed with a "finder" (a sympathetic compass made from a hair and used to find the person the hair came from) hunt Kvothe down in an alley on the 28th day of the month (presumably the fifth month of the year) in Imre and attempt to kill him. He manages to use sympathy to blind and stun them long enough to escape, adding to his reputation (they believe he called down fire and lighting upon them). Later, crawling into his rooms through the window, he finds a note Denna left for him wedged into the window several days prior. In it she hints at having met someone interesting about whom she wishes to speak to Kvothe. He takes steps to confound the "finder" in case someone else comes after him and takes a room in an inn near the docks.
The following day, he hears about a wedding near Trebon where it sounds as though the Chandrian appeared and killed everyone. He borrows more money from Devi, buys a horse, and rides sixty miles in half a day to reach the town, where he comes across a tinker to whom he trades away the horse for a loden-stone and various sundry items. At the local inn, he inquires about the wedding, hoping to hear some concrete information about the Chandrian, and discovers that there was one survivor, slightly injured, who turns out to be Denna.
The two of them leave the inn and head towards the Mauthen Farm to see if Denna can find any of her things from before she was knocked unconscious. She tells him about her eccentric potential patron, and Kvothe nicknames him Master Ash. They look around the farm, and Denna tells Kvothe that she saw blue flame during the chaos. What wood remains is rottted, and the iron pump-handle is rusted through. Kvothe tells Denna that he thinks the Chandrian were there. She agrees after some consideration. Denna wants to go looking for Master Ash, so they head into the woods to explore. Eventually they run across Skoivan Schiemmelpfenneg (Schiem), a swineherd with whom they share dinner and hear about a local legend describing something odd that creates blue flame in the bluffs to the north. They head that direction and camp at the top of another hill with a good view of the bluffs, littered with a handful of greystones. Kvothe theorizes that Mauthen dug up an artifact of some kind when building his house, and that seeing it is what got the wedding party killed. They see the blue flame to the north before bedding down for the night.
A draccus wakes them in the middle of the night, as it comes to the hilltop attracted by their fire. It destroys the fire and then eventually leaves in the early morning. Kvothe and Denna make it to the place in the bluffs where they saw a small plume of smoke rising, and find a small (and very strange) encampment. The draccus shows up and they flee into a small cave, where Kvothe figures out that it is a grove of denner trees being cultivated to make ophalum, but not before Denna chews a large amount of it, thinking it to be maple candy. Kvothe tries to help treat her for the drug's effects, but hasn't much to work with. They collect all the ophalum they can find, hoping to sell it back in Imre or the University. In the meantime, he realizes that the draccus is addicted to the resin of the Denner trees and has become dangerous. They decide to try to overdose it with some of the resin. They ball up two thirds of the resin they found and bait the draccus with a fire, then hide to wait for it to arrive. It does so, takes the bait, and starts to fall asleep, but fires from Trebon's harvest festival attract its attention and it races maniacally towards the town. Kvothe leaves Denna, who has passed out from the ophalum by now, and races after it, managing to save part of the town from fire with some slapdash sygaldry and sympathy, and kills the draccus by collapsing the iron wheel from a church onto it in the same manner. However this also uses up the last of the ophalum. Afterward, he is knocked unconscious.
When Kvothe awakens, the townsfolk hold him in some awe, not understanding at all what has happened. They tell him that they have "disposed of the demon" in the proper manner, and Kvothe plays on their awe to try to gather further information about what happened at the wedding. Only one person in town, Nina, has anything useful to say, telling him that she saw the artifact the Mauthens dug up, and that it was a vase or urn with drawings on it. When she describes what she remembered, Kvothe realizes the drawings were of the Chandrian. She is terrified, and Kvothe gives her a bauble that he claims he has charmed to protect her. He then leaves to return to the University, never having found Denna since the night the Draccus died.
Upon his return, Ambrose steals Kvothe's lute out of its case while he isn't looking. While toying with it to tease Kvothe, he carelessly breaks it. Kvothe inadvertently calls the Name of the wind and buffets Ambrose with it, possibly breaking his arm. Kvothe then falls into a largely insensible state. Elodin eventually finds him and whispers something that helps him start to mend psychologically.
Ambrose and Kvothe are both brought on the horns. Ambrose is found guilty of stealing and destroying Kvothe's lute and required to pay for its replacement. Kvothe is found guilty of malfeasance and sentenced to six lashes and expelled, but his expulsion is repealed at Elodin's objection. Kvothe is also raised to Re'lar with Elodin as his sponsor on the fifth of Fallow.
It's during this time that Auri begins to show Kvothe around the Underthing.
Kvothe's lashing proceeds in much the same way as his first and he purchases a new lute and some other small things with Ambrose's money.
Auri eventually leads Kvothe to a passage that he discovers will allow him to sneak into the Archives. He then convinces Fela to show him around a bit in secret.
Kvothe is given a letter from the Maer allowing his tuition to be paid by him, His Arrowcatch has been renamed the Bloodless by Master Elodin. Since he created the schema Kvothe gets a royalty payment on each Bloodless sold. In the time he was away with the Maer, he accumulated a large sum of money. He also makes a deal with the bursor's office in the university to split tuition fees exceeding 10 talents. No longer in need of working hard for his money he takes a large number of classes, and fails some of them.
The Faen RealmEdit
When Kvothe's mission for Maer Alveron is completed, his group come upon the faerie creature known as Felurian. Her ability entrances Dedan, but he is stopped from chasing her by Hespe. Kvothe willingly follows her after hearing her song, though not entranced. He seeks the knowledge of her seemingly magical abilities with music. This leads to Kvothe chasing Felurian all the way into fae, leaving his companions behind, who believe him dead afterward.In the Fae, Kvothe engages in a sexual relationship with Felurian, as all her captives do. She teaches Kvothe many things, including information about the moon, and shaper who stole it , but ultimately intends to drive him mad with intercourse. Instead, Kvothe captures Felurian by calling her name, apperantly using his powers as a namer. However, he decides not to kill her because he doesnt want to destroy something he considers extremely amazing. Kvothe comes to find out that Felurian does not use magic and that she cannot teach him anything to make his music magical. What she uses are actually natural abilities, not something she learned to use. She does find Kvothe's music very beautiful though, and ultimately he uses this against her so that he might escape. They come to an agreement that if she frees him, he will write songs about her beauty and sexual prowess. They also agree that Kvothe will eventually have to return and be Felurian's lover until he dies.
After this agreement is struck, Felurian desires to create Kvothe a cloak called a Shaed, which helps him hide better. She allows him to follow her into the fae and collect the darkness she must weave together, however, when it comes to the actual creation of the cloak, she sends Kvothe away. During this time Kvothe explores some of the areas of the fae surrounding Felurian's twilight glade. At which time he encounters the Cthaeh. His meeting with the Cthaeh is strange, and he learns that the leader of the bandits he recently fought was actually Cinder, of the Chandrian. He also learns that Denna often thinks of him while in distress, and the Cthaeh, chides Kvothe for his relationship with Felurian, whilst his real love interest is being harmed at the hands of her patron in the Four Corners.
After this meeting, Felurian suspects he met the creature and tries to console him. Shortly afterward he leaves the Fae and meets up again with his comrades who say he has been missing for three days.
Kvothe travels with Tempi to Ademre because his mercenary friend faces potential disciplinary measures for having taught his Ketan to Kvothe, a barbarian. Upon arriving there, he spends a time being evaluated by an Adem instructor so that Tempi's superiors can decide whether agreeing to teach him was "of the Lethani." Eventually, Kvothe is accepted as being capable of learning and is considered a student of the Latantha school, and is thus free to stay and study or to go. Having unfulfilled business with Maer Alveron, he elects to leave.
The Present Edit
Kvothe goes by the name Kote in the village of Newarre, some years later. He is apparently hiding his true identity and living as the inkeeper of the Waystone Inn with his companion Bast, a fae creature who he is seemingly mentoring. It is Bast who slipped the rumor that Kote was Kvothe and ultimately drew the attention of Chronicler who is now writing the life story of Kvothe. Kote is a man different from Kvothe, as he seemingly cannot use sympathy as he once did. He also does not seem to posses his Adem blade, and instead only has a mounted blade named Folly, for which Bast shows great distaste. He also has yet to be observed with his shaed in the frame story. Kote does however show some fighting ability, when he slays a group of Scrael that have invaded the surrounding areas of Newarre.
Kote also is the owner of a thrice locked chest, the contents of which are unknown. He once asks Bast how he would open it if he had to, and his student cannot think of an answer.
Before Chronicler arrived to scribe the story of Kvothe, Kote had attempted to write an autobiography, but he ultimately became frustrated with project and put it aside. Bast is weary of broaching this subject with Kote as he is afraid to set him back and his ultimate desire seems to be to return Kote to his normal self.
Kote is currently on the second day of this three day biography.
The word kote is inferred to be Siaru for disaster. In Ch.67, of Name of the Wind, Kilvin says 'Chan Vaen edan Kote', to which Kvothe says '"Seven years... I don't know Kote." Kilvin then tells him that it means 'Expect disaster every seven years'.
Magwyn names Kvothe 'Maedre' which may be an anagram for Ademre and have a larger significance than originally thought. This would explain the shock of Vashet during the naming.
It is possible that Kvothe is the nephew of Meluan Lackless. Meluan has an intense hatred towards the Edema Ruh because her sister ran off with one. In the Name of the Wind we learn that Kvothe's mother was a noble who ran away with his father. Further evidence to suggest this would be that Kvothe is struck by the resemblance of Meluan to someone he knows. However, Kvothe cannot put his finger on who he is so reminded of.
Poem of the Rings Kvothe has or wears at some point or another:
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 name.
The ring of amber is known to be a storytelling invention. The ring of wood may be either the ring Auri gives him, or the ring Meluan Lackless sends to him. The ring of bone is most likely Stapes' blood-debt ring. The rings on the second hand suggest that Kvothe learns and masters the names of blood, wind, ice, and fire. Furthermore, the ring without a name is suspected to be copper, a substance which cannot be named.
Kvothe is exceptionally intelligent, even as a very young boy. He is quick-witted, sharp-tongued and clever, and a talented musician. From a myriad teachers he learns the skills of singing, acting, playing the lute, woodcraft, law, Sympathy, begging, thieving, and seduction. He is very curious and often gets himself into trouble. He also has a knack for learning languages, highlighting Adem which he became proficient in less than 3 months.
- "She was unlike anyone I have ever met"
Denna is the primary romantic interest for Kvothe in the Chronicle. They first meet in Roent's caravan, and are later reunited in the Eolian, where Denna joins Kvothe as the Aloine to his Savien during the song The Lay of Sir Savien. Kvothe is smitten with Denna – everything from her face to her voice –and his mad quest to keep close to her without clinging too tightly is a recurring theme throughout the books.
Fela, a scriv, among other things, is one of Kvothe's first female friends at the University. Kvothe saved Fela from a fire in the Fishery and Fela developed romantic feelings for Kvothe, which Kvothe did not reciprocate. Fela gives him a fine cloak as a form of thanks for his saving her, and often does favors for Kvothe when he needs more assistance than Willem and Simmon can provide. During Kvothe's absence from the University, Fela enters into a romantic relationship with Sim.
Mola is an El'the working underneath Master Arwyl. She treats Kvothe after his first whipping, and they eventually become friends. Kvothe grows trusting of Mola, and eventually asks her to accompany him to inspect Auri after the fire in the Fishery. She agrees and apparently keeps his secret.
At first, Devi is merely Kvothe's gaelet, but the two eventually form a friendship of sorts, albeit a tempestuous one. She often forces Kvothe to borrow more money than he needs so as to keep him her debtor, though they are known to often trade books and information back and forth. She once offered Kvothe sexual favors in return for him telling her the secret way into the archives, but he refused, mostly because he does not wish to expose Auri to anyone. Kvothe also suspects Devi trades his blood to Ambrose when he is being magically attacked during the story. They have a duel of sympathy which Kvothe loses, much to his surprise. However, he ultimately discovers she did not betray him. This causes somewhat of a rift in their relationship and it seems as though they will never be close again, though they are brought back together later on.
Bast is Kvothe's apprentice and one of the Fae. While Chronicler records Kvothe's story, Bast urges Chronicler to get his master to remember himself and become his old self again. It is unclear for what reasons Bast truly desires this, but he proves himself to be an adversary of anyone who might not work toward his desires.
A Fae creature whose power lies in seduction, Felurian is responsible for teaching Kvothe the arts of the lover as well as taking his virginity. Felurian made Kvothe's Shaed and he is in agreement with her to eventually return to the Fae and be her lover.
Wilem is another of Kvothe's best friends at the University. They often spend time playing corners and drinking together.