Characters / The Kingkiller Chronicle

Characters for "The Kingkiller Chronicle"

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The trilogy's main character. He currently goes by the name Kote in the village of Newarre, hiding his true identity and living as the inkeeper of the Waystone Inn.

The trilogy's primary female character and Kvothe's Love Interest. She is poor, homeless, and prone to wandering, but manages to make a decent living with her voice and charm. Men have a fatal attraction to her, an attraction she can never seem to return. When a man gets too familiar with her, she will often leave town quickly and silently.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She is described as beautiful, dark-haired and very elegant and graceful.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette
  • Gold Digger: Although Denna doesn't exhibit some of the more extreme characteristics of the trope, such as self-entitlement. Somewhat justified as it is one of the few options available to a woman with no dowry, though Denna does seem to enjoy the game.
  • Harp of Femininity: Eventually starts learning to play one, at Kvothe's recommendation.
  • Hero's Muse
  • Ill Girl: She was born with weak lungs, and periodically has trouble breathing, sometimes to the point of being bedridden.
  • Living Lie Detector: For Kvothe.
  • Master of the Mixed Message
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Denna's real name is unknown but everyone calls her by some other name she gave to them, usually along the lines of Dianne or Dineh or some other "d" word.
  • Pet the Dog: On several instances, she sells expensive gifts or gives away her money, things that would guarantee her some much-needed financial security, in order to do kindnesses ranging from people she knows well like buying Kvothe an extravagantly awesome lute case, to acquaintances like giving a foolish young man her gifted emerald earrings so he can settle a debt to a dangerous loan shark, to complete strangers like using all her current money to help a young woman running away from home and getting assaulted on the streets to get home or a new profession.
  • The Tragic Rose
  • Tsundere: She clearly likes Kvothe, no one doubts this, but at other times...
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Kvothe.
  • Unwitting Pawn: There is evidence that she was sent to the wedding in Trebon as a spy.
  • Walking the Earth
  • Women Are Wiser: Well, she's certainly street wise.

Kvothe's Friends

A close friend of Kvothe's. He is skilled in alchemy and poetry.

A close friend of Kvothe's. Wilem is Cealdish and works as a scriv in the University Archives.

One of Kvothe's few female friends at the University.

A member of the Arcanum who works in the Medica. She is always the one to take care of Kvothe when he is hurt.

One of Kvothe's best friends at The University. He has been at The University for thirty years and seems to have no interest in advancing.

A former University student who has gone "cracked" and lives in hiding in passages beneath the university. Auri is frightened by strangers, loud noises, and direct questions, but is befriended by Kvothe and is shown to greatly enjoy Kvothe's singing and lute-playing.

The Edema Ruh Troupe

Kvothe's father and the leader of the Edema Ruh troupe that carried the patronage of Baron Greyfallow.
  • Good Parents
  • Nice Guy
  • Posthumous Character
  • Skeptic No Longer: When he starts work on a song about the Chandrian, he consults Abenthy for any stories the man may have, and exchange that is overheard by the young Kvothe. Abenthy refuses to offer any help and tries to warn him against continuing with this song, stating that horrible things have happened to people who try to research the Chandrian, but Arliden brushes him off. He pays for his mistake with not only his life, but the lives of his entire troupe, save for his young son.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: He was attempting to compose a song about Lanre and the Chandrian, and had been gathering folk stories about both for over a year. In the process, he stumbled upon some of their True Names and whilst practicing the song, repeated them many times. This led the Chandrian to massacre the troupe, leaving Kvothe its sole survivor.
  • Wandering Minstrel

Kvothe's mother. She was a noble before following Kvothe's father Arliden to become one of the Edema Ruh in the year before Kvothe's birth.

Kvothe's first teacher of sympathy and science, an arcanist and alumnus of the University.
  • Cool Old Guy
  • The Mentor
  • No Brows: He usually doesn't have eyebrows because he keeps burning them off in the course of his various experiments as an arcanist. Kvothe comments in his narration that this made Abenthy look perpetually surprised.
  • The Obi-Wan: When Kvothe was around eight years old, Abenthy fell in love with a widow in the course of tutoring her son. The two married, and he stayed behind with her in town as the troupe moved on.

A member of Kvothe's troupe, mentioned when discussing Knacks.
  • Posthumous Character
  • Rule of Seven: Trip throws sevens on dice. This is not an example of Lucky Seven, as seven is not a lucky number to throw when playing dice (because it's only an average throw, and you can never roll doubles).


A kindly old man who lives in the basement of a burnt out building and feeds and tends to the needs of street children.
  • Barefoot Poverty
  • Good Shepherd: It is implied, with mentions of his gray robes, that he is some kind of priest of the Tehlin church.
  • The Storyteller: He's one of the few who still remembers the stories of the Chandrian.

A famous storyteller who is said to know every story in existence. He is also an associate of Chronicler, and was allegedly instrumental in discovering Kvothe's whereabouts after he assumed the identity of Kote.

The Masters

Chancellor of the University and Master Linguist.

Master Namer.
  • Broken Ace: Sim defines him as one. In fact, seeing his many experiences and knowledge fields, Elodin could be considered an older version of Kvothe.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The kind we don't know the true extent of his cloudcuckoolanding. At the best, it's stated several times that he is clinically off his rocker.
  • Eccentric Mentor
  • Mysterious Past: None of the students know what happened to send him to the madhouse, they just know he spent years there before learning the Name of his walls and walking out.
  • The Quiet One: He does not speak very much during the masters's meetings, and judging for their reactions when he does it, they prefer it this way.
  • Trickster Mentor

Master Artificer and one of Kvothe's most influential mentors.

Master Archivist.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: In a world with actual magic and fae creatures and the like, he doesn't believe in the Chandrian or Haliax and disapproves that Kvothe's first request of the archives was information on them.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Kvothe uses him as example of the third thing all wise men fear: the wrath of a gentle man.
  • Berserk Button: He flips out over just about any breach of protocol in the Archives.
  • Expy: The way Rothfuss describe him as a Tall, Dark and Snarky master with reasons to antagonize the protagonist evokes Severus Snape, although Lorren seems to be a way more pleasant guy (if you don't press his buttons, that is).
  • Scary Librarian
  • The Stoic

Master Rhetorician.

    Elxa Dal 
Master Sympathist, who looks just like an evil wizard from fairy tales but is actually a nice guy.

Master Physicker.

    Master Brandeur 
Master Arithmetician.
  • Flat Character: His only characterization is being Hemme's toady and his passion for mathematics.
  • Yes-Man: Does everything Hemme tells him to.

Master Alchemist.
  • Out of Focus: Gets the least screentime and characterization of all the masters, mainly because Kvothe is not very interested in alchemy.

Imre and the University

The partner of Stanchion and co-owner of The Eolian in Imre.
  • Bi the Way: Implied by Denna, along with being with Stanchion. The latter is never confirmed, however.
  • The Bouncer

The partner of Deoch and co-owner of The Eolian in Imre.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Denna implies he and Deoch are in a relationship, but it is never confirmed.
  • Nice Guy: A reasonable and kind man.
  • Threshold Guardian: For up-and-coming musicians, he's the one to impress if they want to win their pipes.

The owner of Anker's, the inn where Kvothe lives and works while he studies in the University.

A moneylender in Imre who makes loans to Kvothe so that he can pay his tuition. Also, a former member of the Arcanum.

A shady black market dealer at the University.

    Count Threpe 
A patron of the musical arts who looks out for Kvothe, and gets him in touch with Maer Alveron.
  • Cool Old Guy
  • Uncle Pennybags: He really, really wants to help Kvothe out, he just doesn't have the money to spare for another patronship.

    Ambrose Jakis 
The firstborn son of a powerful and wealthy baron and the nemesis of Kvothe in the University.


A strange man who appears to live in the Archives, and is a constant source of information for Wilem and Simmon.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Walks around in costumes and puts on elaborate puppet shows. Is also one of the most well-informed people when it comes to the Archives.
  • Creepy Doll: He likes to make puppets, to the extent that his room is full of them.

The Maer's Court

    Maer Lerand Alveron 
The Maer, and essentially king of Vint due to an old and complicated agreement with the actual king of Vint.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: He knows very well the deeper implications of nobility, and how ultimately fragile that power is. Thus he takes measures to ensure he is constantly in control.
  • Too Clever by Half: Invoked, in those exact words, by Kvothe as narrator, besides being true.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Subverted. When it seems he'll kick Kvothe out of the city to please his bigoted lady wife, he actually writes a letter of apology and officially agrees to be Kvothe's patron. Then he kicks Kvothe out.

The Maer's retainer, who initially greatly distrusts Kvothe.

The Maer's soldier.
  • Bald of Awesome: Though Kvothe's knee-jerk initial impression is Bald of Evil. And given that the Maer calls him a mad dog on a short leash...
  • The Stoic: The only words Kvothe ever hears him say are "Yes, Your Grace," with a soldier's composure.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Dagon's approach to his job, according to the Maer.

    Lady Meluan Lackless 
A young noblewoman the Maer wishes to marry. She seems familiar to Kvothe, but he can't quite place why...

The Maer's physician.
  • Meaningful Name: Probably a double subversion. The similar-sounding caduceus (☤) is a symbol often used in America for the medical industry. However, this usage is historically incorrect: the caduceus is rather a symbol of commerce, and is considered inappropriate as a symbol of medicine because commerce often involves theft, deception, and death.
    • Fridge Brilliance: the caduceus is a quite appropriate symbol of medicine, since it was originally Apollo's cane, later won by Hermes and hence used as a symbol of theft and deception (and, with Hermes psychopomp side being more prominent, death). Quite appropriate to name someone who gets introduced as a medic and then turns out to be actually deceiving and killing his patient.

A noble who Kvothe befriends quickly.

    Lord Praevek 
A noble at the Maer's court.
  • Gossipy Hens: Most of the Maer's Court is this, but Lord Praevek is the most gossipy of all of them.

The Mercenaries

A Vintic mercenary who usually works with his companions Hespe and Marten.

A mercenary who usually works with Dedan and Marten.

A mercenary who usually works with Dedan and Hespe.
  • Cool Old Guy: The first of the mercenaries Kvothe actually befriends, due to his appreciation for quick wit and humor.
  • Divine Intervention: His terrified praying appears to be what makes Cinder flee in the confrontation with the mercenaries.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker
    • However, he was able to teach Kvothe and Tempi some of his techniques, so somewhat justified.

An Adem mercenary who is the first to teach Kvothe about the Ketan and the Lethani.
  • Butt Monkey: Though definitely competent, the other Adem hold him in some contempt.
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue: Kvothe assumes this is the reason why Tempi initially doesn't speak much.
  • Funny Foreigner: Sometimes played straight; at one point invoked by Tempi himself when he defuses a tense moment by pretending not to understand the word "balls."
  • The Quiet One
  • The Stoic: Subverted. He appears to be this, but only because the Adem emote using hand language rather than facial expressions.

The Adem

An old woman and master of the Ketan fighting style as well as the head of the school in Haert, where Kvothe stays. She approves of Kvothe being taught the Ketan and the Lethani.

A female Adem who first rebukes Tempi for teaching Kvothe their secrets.

Nicknamed "the Hammer", she is the teacher assigned to Kvothe to determine if he is worthy to become one of the Adem and so to learn their ways.

A young woman who beats Shehyn in a sparring exhibition and is the first among the Adem at Haert to speak to Kvothe of her own free will.

An exceptionally talented student of the Ketan who becomes Kvothe's sparring partner. A ten year old girl.

The Fae

The most beautiful and sensual woman in either the world of mortals or the fae. She crosses over into the mortal world to seduce men and brings them into her own world. There, she proves her power over them by driving them to madness and/or death through excess of yearning and sexual debauchery.

    The Cthaeh 
A malicious entity living in a great tree in the Realm of the Fae. The Cthaeh sees all possible futures and uses this power to manipulate people into making life decisions that will cause the most suffering.
  • Badass Boast: I am Cthaeh. I am. I see. I know. At times I speak.
  • Bigger Bad: There is nothing in this world more dangerous or terrible than the Cthaeh.
  • Butterfly of Doom: It uses prophesies to set these up. Also referenced: it spends its spare time very precisely killing specific butterflies.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Justified. The Cthaeh knows exactly what to say and do in order to bring about the most destructive possible chain of events.
  • The Dreaded: According to Bast it's even more dangerous then the Chandrian.
  • And I Must Scream: He doesn't often get to talk to people, what with the Sithe around, and can't leave his tree: it's an eternity of solitary confinement.
  • Eldritch Abomination
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Or at least a tree.
  • Kill All Humans: Its actual motivations are somewhat mysterious, but appear to be along these lines.
  • Shout-Out: In the audiobook version, Nick Podehl adopts a dead-on vocal impression of Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight when voicing the Cthaeh. Possibly just for the Ruleof Cool, but also a possible reference to the two characters' shared ability to predict and manipulate the actions of those around them in order to create chaos and misery.
  • The Omniscient: According to Bast.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The Cthaeh's conversational partners all become this.

The Chandrian

"When the hearthfire turns to blue,
What to do? What to do?
Run outside. Run and hide."
"When your bright sword turns to rust?
Who to trust? Who to trust?
Stand alone. Standing stone."
"When his eyes are black as crow?
Where to go? Where to go?
Near and far. Here they are."
"See a woman pale as snow?
Silent come and silent go.
What's their plan? What's their plan?
Chandrian. Chandrian."
"See a man without a face?
Move like ghosts from place to place.
What's their plan? What's their plan?
Chandrian. Chandrian."

Cyphus bears the blue flame.
Stercus is in thrall of iron.
Ferule chill and dark of eye.
Usnea lives in nothing but decay.
Grey Dalcenti never speaks.
Pale Alenta brings the blight.
Last there is the lord of seven:
Hated. Hopeless. Sleepless. Sane.
Alaxel bears the shadow's hame.

Seven demons, or humans, or immortals, or who knows what. They are assumed to be nonexistent by most scholars and learned people, due to the amount of effort they have gone to in order to destroy any records of them. They slaughtered Kvothe's family.


The leader of the Chandrian, and according to at least one legend, was once the hero Lanre. His most distinguishing feature is that his face is obscured by shadow even in broad daylight.


Worshiped as a monotheistic deity in the Aturan Empire, the Commonwealth, and parts of Vint. Some storytellers have different ideas....
  • Badass Boast: "To ash all things return, so too this flesh will burn. But I am Tehlu. Son of myself. Father of myself. I was before, and I will be after. If I am a sacrifice then it is to myself alone. And if I am needed and called in the proper ways then I will come again to judge and punish."
  • Big Good
  • God: According to the Tehlin church.
  • Messianic Archetype: In Trapis' Encanis story. In Skarpi's story, too, for that matter.
  • Our Angels Are Different: According to Skarpi, Tehlu became a powerful winged being who gave up earthly life to mete out justice.
  • Overnight Age-Up: In Trapis' story, Tehlu grows to an adult a few weeks after he is born.

Legendary characters (may or may not be fictional in universe)

    Taborlin the Great 
A Folk Hero who knows the name of all things, possesses a cloak of no particular color, whose three tools are coin, key, and candle, and who carries a copper sword (though the last point is disputed).
  • Escape Artistnote 
  • Folk Hero
  • Hammerspace: Taborlin's cloak of no particular color is described as this.

An ancient powerful Shaper who allegedly provoked the Creation War.
  • Born Unlucky: In Hespe's story at least.
  • The Eeyore
  • Monumental Theft: He stole the freaking moon. Well, he didn't successfully steal all of it, and in Hespe's story it was more like he kidnapped her, but it's still really impressive.

Most famous of the Edema Ruh.

A duke in the Aturan Empire who was said to have performed macabre medical experiments on living human subjects.

A legendary philosopher; wrote works such as Theophany and Underlying Principles; apocryphally said to have lived barefoot in a cave.

A powerful Namer or Shapernote  dating at least from the time of the Creation War.
  • The Maker: According to a Creation Myth that Kvothe alludes to (though it may have been a joke).
  • Meaningful Name: Kvothe says that Aleph is either a The Maker of everything (i.e. a god) or the first person to discover the names of all things, depending on the version of the tale. In real life, aleph is the the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, but in mathematics it is used as the symbol for transfinite numbers (essentially different kinds of infinity).

Ruler of the city of Myr Tariniel, one of the most powerful Namers of his time. Legendary founder of the Amyr, according to Skarpi.

Newarre (scenes from the framing device)

Real name Devan Lochees. A scribe, recorder, and scholar. After being saved by Kvothe, he manages to convince him to tell him his real story.

A student of Kvothe who assists him in running the Waystone Inn. He is actually one of The Fae. He is over 150 years old and his whole title is Bastas, son of Remmen, Prince of Twilight and the Telwyth Mael. Has a vignette devoted to him in the Rogues anthology.
  • Anything That Moves: Well, anything female. Considering that he's 150 and looks 20, he doesn't care too much about age, as long as they're pretty. And he seems to feel pretty strongly about Kvothe, too.
  • Berserk Button: Toward disrespect to Kvothe.
  • Beware the Silly Ones
  • The Fair Folk
  • Knowledge Broker: Acts as this to the town's children. They tell him things or give him things, and he gives them advice.
  • Handsome Lech: He's referred to as a womanizer multiple times, but does seem to respect women to some degree, as shown by his speech about how to make a girl feel beautiful.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Happily helps a boy in return for knowledge of where a pretty village girl bathes.
  • Mood Ring Eyes
  • Glamour Failure: When dealing with iron.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Capitalizes on it happily, if the audience his bathing attracts is anything to go by...
  • Plucky Comic Relief
  • Poisonous Friend: Threatens to make Chronicler's life a living hell if he doesn't help Kvothe get back to his old self.
  • Pretty Boy
  • Really 700 Years Old: He's actually over 150 years old.

One of the common patrons of the inn.

A blacksmith apprentice, and a common patron at the inn.