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 Ace: Verging on Mary Sue territory, with his ability to learn languages overnight, to master skills the first time he tries them, to charm almost anyone without half trying, to act with such meticulous skill that he can talk himself out of urchin-hood and into the nobility (or at least the semblance thereof). Stays firmly away from Mary Sue in that he does have significant and real flaws and it's deconstructed since it makes him arrogant, makes him stand out, makes other people jealous, and generally makes him a catalyst for all kinds of nastiness.
Broken Ace: By the time Chronicler finds him, he's a broken shell of a man.
All the Other Reindeer: Kvothe feels like this in the first book in the Arcanum dorm, as his quick promotion makes the others jealous.
Cannot Spit It Out: Kvothe is unable to tell Denna his true feelings even when she is high on denner resin and thus unlikely to note or remember anything he says.
Chick Magnet: Denna, Fela, Mola, Devi, Penthe, Vashet, Felurian, and various side characters all show some degree of romantic or sexual interest in him. While some of these interactions are more significant that others (the fact that Vashet slept with Kvothe, for example, doesn't mean much due to the Adem's almost utilitarian attitude toward sex), the books make it clear that Kvothe is very popular with women, even at fifteen.
Partially subverted: Kvothe explicitly tells Bast that he's not above exaggeration for effect during the interlude after his meeting the Ctheah. Also, there are numerous subtle clues that he might not be entirely forthcoming with Chronicler.
Inverted with the true names of the Chandrian. They know when/where their true names are spoken, and ruthlessly eradicate any information about themselves. Kvothe's dad, Arliden, was composing and rehearsing a song about them. The Chandrian show up and kill everybody, except for the temporarily-absent Kvothe. Kvothe namechecks 'em all...once.
Never Be Hurt Again: He mentions this as one of several motivations for attending Wizarding School. (How truthful he was being is currently unknown — especially since the series isn't finished yet.)
Really Seventeen Years Old: During much of his adventures, he adds a few years to his age. He's in his mid-to-late teens during his time at the University. In Newarre, the framing device, he's only in his twenties, despite being a Living Legend.
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.
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.
Dark and Troubled Past: Being a fourth son of duke, his father planned a career as diplomat for him which is why he was sent to the University. While studying, however, he found his love for alchemy and poetry and entered the Arcanum which displeased his father. Because of this Simmon never goes home.
Genius Ditz: He's very naive and airheaded in a lot of ways but he really knows his alchemy.
And his Fantasy!Greek (Eld Vintic), and his poetry...
Author Avatar: Rothfuss' bio says that he was an undergrad for 9 years before being politely asked to graduate. Manet also happens to make a date with one of the most desirable women in the series, which must surely be an innocent coincidence.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gentle Giant: Despite his scruffy exterior, Kilvin is a pacifist, is fair in judgment and generous to those who earn it.
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 enxample 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.
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 lady wife, he actually writes a letter apologizing and giving Kvothe some measure of financial security. Then he kicks Kvothe out.
The Maer's retainer, who initially greatly distrusts Kvothe.
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.
A noble Kvothe befriends quickly.
Blue Blood: Despite not introducing himself with any title, Bredon was obviously born to great wealth, as Kvothe is quick to notice.
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.
All Lower Case Letters: Her dialogue is all lower case, except for the word "I", her own name, and the Cthaeh. Other names (like Kvothe) are not capitalized.
"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." Last there is the lord of seven: Hated. Hopeless. Sleepless. Sane. Alaxel bears the shadow's hame. "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.
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.
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."
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 The Escape Artist trope is for characters who escape on pure skill, i.e., without superpowers. Taborlin escapes by knowing the Name of all things, which seems superpowerish. But in universe, Naming is a skill that can be taught; therefore it is not a superpower.
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).
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.
Red Baron: He's not a chronicler, he's The Chronicler.
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.
Handsome Lech: Unless he's a Chivalrous Pervert (we haven't seem him in action yet, so it's hard to tell). 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.