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Main Characters

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.
  • All the Other Reindeer: Kvothe feels like this in the first book in the Arcanum dorm, as his quick promotion makes the others jealous.
  • Badass Boast:
    • Kvothe's brief recollection of awesome deeds becomes the tagline for the book.
    • Kvothe says a few times that he has an alar like a bar/blade of ramston steel.
  • Badass Cape: Kvothe wears them. A green cloak in the first book, which is ultimately replaced by his shadow cloak in the second book.
  • The Bard: Kvothe is a member of the Edema Ruh, people renown for their storytelling and singing. Kvothe has a particular love for music and playing his lute is one of his greatest joys.
  • Becoming the Mask: Bast is afraid that Kvothe is truly becoming Kote the innkeeper.
  • Berserk Button: Don't insult the Edema Ruh in front of Kvothe. He's not big on poetry either. It's just a song without music, and therefore soulless!
  • Break the Cutie: He was a cheerful and inquisitive child when the Chandrian murdered his parents and wiped out his troupe. It was one of the most traumatic events of his life, and he spent months afterward living numbly in the woods, playing his lute for solace until enough strings broke that he had to go back to civilization.
  • Broken Ace: He can learn languages overnight, master skills the first time he tries them, charm almost anyone without half trying. However, he does have significant and real flaws. His talents and intelligence make him arrogant, make him stand out, make other people jealous, and generally make him a catalyst for all kinds of nastiness. He ends up becoming a Living Legend, but by the time Chronicler finds him, he's a broken shell of a man.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Kvothe is unable to tell Denna his true feelings, even when she's high on denner resin and unlikely to 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 than 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.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: As of book two, where he begins seducing women left and right while remaining a mostly decent person, even if he's mostly after sex instead of emotional entanglements.
  • Circus Brat: He was raised in a traveling troupe of entertainers.
  • Consummate Liar: Kvothe notes with satisfaction that he's an excellent liar due to his acting experience. He lies quite a lot throughout his story, though Denna seems to see some of his lies easily.
  • Cool Sword: Caesura in the past. Folly in the present.
  • Constantly Curious: As a child, he was the Elephant's Child, who learned very quickly and cracked puzzles like they were chestnuts, so his father would give him Shaggy Dog Stories to puzzle over. He's still curious as an adult.
  • Cruel Mercy: What he did with the waterskin to one of the false Ruh: gave the man with an abdominal wound that would kill slowly enough for him to begin dying of thirst too, and left the skin within crawling distance. Every movement that dying man makes will tear open his wound again...
  • Dark and Troubled Past: His parents and troupe were killed by the Chandrian, lived alone in the woods for a time, then lived as an orphan on the streets of Tarbean for three years, where he's robbed, beaten, begs, steals, and nearly raped at one point.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He is prone to dry witticisms both in his story and in his narration.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Has moments of it in the first book, due to the memories of his Barefoot Poverty.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: He's in love with Denna and she clearly has feelings for him, but they can't bring themselves to tell each other outright. Kvothe stays her friend even as she goes on to date other people, and she's the only girl he loves even as he gets in physical relationships with other women.
  • Failure Hero: He believes this about himself.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • His impatience.
    • His arrogance.
    • His temper.
  • Fiery Redhead: He has a flaming mop of red hair, which characters occasionally comment on.
  • Genre Blind: At times. His inability to see Elodin as the Trickster Mentor he is causes him a lot of grief, especially after beginning Elodin's class.
  • Genre Savvy: Due to his Edema Ruh upbringing, he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of stories, which he occasionally draws on for wisdom when he finds his experience lacking. He gets mixed results.
  • Guile Hero: He solves most of his problems through wit and trickery, though he becomes quite the fighter in the second book.
  • Heroic Bastard: His parents were never formally married.
  • Heroic BSoD: He's in one during the present tense scenes.
  • I Have Many Names: Kvothe, Maedre (which can mean the Flame, the Thunder, or the Broken Tree depending on how it's spoken), E'lir, Dulator, Shadicar, Lightfinger, Six-String, Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, Kvothe Kingkiller, Kote, and Reshi.
  • Infallible Narrator: Downplayed: 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.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: He's a swordsman-thief-mage-bard, among other talents.
  • Living Legend: He's a legend in his own time, though he's popularly assumed dead.
  • Master Actor: He's able 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).
  • Meaningful Name: Has named himself "Kote", which we later find out means "Expect Disaster". We also later find out that he's spoken to the Cthaeh, and anyone who interacts with the Cthaeh will go on to bring disaster and catastrophe wherever they go.
  • Memetic Badass: In-universe.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Kvothe the Kingkiller. Kvothe the Bloodless.
  • 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.)
  • Oblivious to Love: Kvothe doesn't notice that Fela is in love with him and brushes off everyone's attempts to point this out. Whether or not he's right about slow-playing Denna has yet to be seen, but we do know that he doesn't end up with her.
  • Photographic Memory: While his memory is not infallible, as displayed in his own story, he does have an excellent memory. He also claims to be vividly relating moment-by-moment details of his life many years after the fact.
  • Really 17 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.
  • Redhead In Green: He wears a green cloak in the first book.
  • Renaissance Man: Has the skills of singing, acting, playing the lute, woodcraft, law, Sympathy, begging, thieving, and seduction.
  • Retired Badass: Not if Bast has anything to say about it.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: His red hair and green eyes are his most distinctive traits.
  • Stepford Smiler: After telling the story of his parents' deaths, he puts on a big act of having long since gotten past it, only to make an excuse to go outside where he starts weeping.
  • Too Clever by Half: His ambition and cleverness often land him in hot water.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Throughout his story, Kvothe is almost constantly collecting extremely useful skills, from woodcraft to swordsmanship to magic.
  • Training from Hell: His time among the Adem.
  • Unreliable Narrator: A discussed trope. Just how honest Kvothe is being in his narration is left ambiguous, though he does seem to be conveying a "warts and all" tale, never glossing over his failings.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Has an epic one with Denna. They are both obviously smitten with each other, yet Denna's aversion to prolonged intimacy causes Kvothe to keep their relationship chaste, so that she won't ditch him like the rest of her lovers. Whether this is a good strategy isn't clear.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Happens to him several times, most notably the time with the roof.


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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gets in several good digs at Kvothe.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Occasionally shows this trait.
  • 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 of Another Story: Heavily implied to be having her own adventures in the service of her secretive master.
  • Hero's Muse: Most specifically she inspires Kvothe's love songs he gives to the Maer. When she's not around, he has writer's block.
  • Ill Girl: She was born with weak lungs, and periodically has trouble breathing, sometimes to the point of being bedridden.
  • Living Lie Detector: In spite of Kvothe being a Consummate Liar, she sees through his lies. Her streetwise nature helps with this.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: She implies to Kvothe in fairly plain terms that he can pursue her if he wishes, but also shows no shame in shacking up with other guys right on front of him and makes it clear through her behavior that she's a "love them and leave them" type of girl. Kvothe ends up convinced that, in spite of her fondness for him, pursuing her would ultimately drive her away.
  • 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.
  • Peerless Love Interest: At one point, Bast points out that she isn't as beautiful as Kvothe makes her out to be. Kvothe replies with beauty being in the eye of the beholder and that his love for Denna means she has no match, at least to his eyes.
  • 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.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: She's fairly pale, unless she's been tanned by recent traveling, and has very dark brown hair. Her features is described as beautiful by many men.
  • Tsundere: She clearly likes Kvothe, no one doubts this, but at other times...
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: She's obviously in love with Kvothe, but neither will make the first move into elevating their relationship to a romantic one.
  • Unwitting Pawn: There is evidence that she was sent to the wedding in Trebon as a spy.
  • Walking the Earth: She's constantly moving from place to place for unclear reasons. She occasionally references that she's researching things and learning secrets.
  • Women Are Wiser: Well, she's certainly street wise.

The Commonwealth

The University

The Masters

    Arthur Herma 
Chancellor of the University and Master Linguist.
  • Cunning Linguist: He's the Master Linguist of the university and one of the few people alive who can read and braid Yllish story knots, which he teaches Kvothe.
  • Hidden Depths: From the beginning it's clear he actually likes Kvothe, but he must remain eminently impartial to all students due to his job and thus doesn't show it much. He is also revealed to be a shockingly funny guy whenever he is not in his Chancellor tasks.
  • Ill Boy: Falls ill at the end of Wise Man's Fear, and Master Hemme is elected Chancellor in his place.
  • Only Sane Man: How he feels whenever Kvothe is on the horns. Certainly, when compared to the rest of masters, he passes as the least quirky one.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Factoring into his status as Only Sane Man, his lack of outrageous quirks help him remain impartial during gatherings with the Masters or when disciplining students.

Master Namer. He's the youngest person to ever be admitted and graduate from the University, and had briefly spent some time in the asylum, before finally becoming a teacher.
  • Barefoot Loon: His tendency to go barefoot outside is one of the signs that he's a Cloudcuckoolander.
  • Barefoot Sage: A wise and gifted magician with a prominent aversion to shoes, which is but one of his many eccentricities.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Even if he is just laughably weird most of the time, he gets occasionally angry and turns positively frightening at those moments.
  • Broken Ace: Sim defines him as one, and we are further told he was an exceptionally brilliant student and Master. In fact, in the light of his many experiences and knowledge fields, Elodin could be considered an example of what Kvothe could become.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He is quite insane, or maybe only moderately insane and very committed to act like he's quite insane. However, in any case, it is impossible to deny he is a true Master Namer with an amazing knowledge of his field. This is presumably the reason why the University keeps him on its payroll despite his penchant to do things that would get anybody kicked out the first time.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The kind where it's hard to judge the true extent of his cloudcuckooland-dwelling. It's stated several times that he is clinically off his rocker, and he accordingly both says and does ridiculous things all the time, but as said in Obfuscating Insanity below, it might simply be that he can get away with it.
  • Eccentric Mentor/Trickster Mentor: A classical example of both tropes. He gives Kvothe cryptic lessons and once deceives him into helping him break into the Master's rooms to show Kvothe why he is reluctant to take him as a student.
  • The Gadfly: Often messes with people for his own amusement, like tricking Kvothe into helping him burn Master Hemme's clothes, or singing "Jackass, Jackass" in front of the song's namesake, Ambrose Jakis.
  • G-Rated Mental Illness: He passed a long time in a madhouse, apparently because his specialty is known to do strange things to people's minds, and it is made clear that he is still a bit crazy. However, most of his supposed lingering insanity is portrayed as a funny, weird-yet-harmless sort of eccentricity instead of something resembling real life mental disorders. Possibly justified, though, because he might just be pretending to be crazy (or at least crazier) for his own amusement.
  • Improbable Age: Was admitted to the University at the age of 14, the youngest ever.
  • It Amused Me: In keeping with how ambiguous his insanity is, sometimes Elodin takes advantage of his status as a loon to just do things he thinks are funny, like setting fire to Master Hemme's clothes.
  • Jerkass with a Heart of Gold: His antics can be twisted and callous, as he openly enjoys Kvothe's punishments, destroys other masters's belongings, and makes insensitive jokes on his own students, but deep down he is a good guy and a caring mentor.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: A Cloudcuckoolander who enjoys riddles and (seemingly) silly questions... but bar the Cthaeh and the Chandrian (both immortals, or close enough), he's hands-down the most powerful character shown yet in the series.
  • 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.
  • Obfuscating Insanity: It's implied in Book 2 that he may not be as much of a Cloudcuckoolander as he's obviously convinced everyone he is. He still has a weird sense of humor and some disdain towards social norms, though.
  • The Quiet One: He doesn't speak very much during the masters's meetings, and judging by their reactions whenever he does, they prefer it that way. He still emotes a fairly bit, often grinning at Kvothe's misery whenever the latter is punished or lectured.
  • Sadist Teacher: Anyone wanting to be his student has to be ready to endure all sorts of humiliations, troubles and oddities, both in the process and afterwards. However, it is implied that there's no other way to become good in Naming, and that this is the reason why many of its adepts go crazy.
  • Secret Test of Character: Subverted. When trying to convince Elodin to take him on as a student, Kvothe reasones that the reason Elodin asks him to jump off the roof of the Crockery was to prove his faith in Elodin's ability to catch him by calling the wind to his aid. Instead, it turns out Elodin was being metaphorical (or just speaking at random as he often does) and was not even thinking about this possibility. As a consequence, Kvothe wounds up with three broken ribs, a concussion, and a dislocated shoulder, as well as a chiding from Elodin that anyone stupid enough to jump wouldn't be fit to hold a spoon in his presence, much less learn how to name things.
  • Stealth Mentor: It takes Kvothe the better part of two books to realize that all of Elodin's classes actually did have useful lessons - he was just too arrogant and impatient to realize.

Master Artificer and one of Kvothe's most influential mentors.
  • Actual Pacifist: He's absolutely committed to the rule of not creating weapons. He's also opinionated about items easily turned to illegal purposes, like the so-called "thieves' lamp" Kvothe builds.
  • The Blacksmith: Who is trying to be The Ultimate Blacksmith.
  • Foreign-Language Tirade: "Skethe Te Reta Vann!" Translation: "Shit in God's Beard!"
  • Gentle Giant: Despite his scruffy exterior, Kilvin is a pacifist, and is fair in judgement and generous to those who earn it.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: A given for being the University's Master Artificer.
  • Hidden Depths: Although it is not his field of expertise, it has been shown he is an incredible sympathist.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Gives Kvothe the benefit of the doubt in some of his clashes with justice, even taking it in stride when finding out that Kvothe had acquired precious metals from the Fishery Stocks for mildly illicit purposes.


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. Generally there's a damn good reason (open flames and paper books do not combine well), but he's very slow to forgive.
  • Connected All Along: It's not yet clear how, but he knew, or at least knew of, Kvothe's father.
  • Scary Librarian: His great height, stony expression, and unforgiving nature as Master Archivist put him right in this trope.
  • The Stoic: His face is almost always expressionless, his voice almost always even. Even when his Berserk Button is pushed, it comes out in a Tranquil Fury.

    Jasom Hemme 
Master Rhetorician.

    Elxa Dal 
Master Sympathist, who looks just like an evil wizard from fairy tales but is actually a nice guy.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: We are told he is the strongest sympathist of his class aside from being its teacher. Probably not by an unimaginable margin, however, because if we believe Devi's words, he failed at beating her back when she was a student (though whether she actuallty beat him in turn or merely ended their match in a stalemate remains unknown).
  • Beard of Evil: Discussed. Kvothe notes that Dal's beard makes him look like a typical fantasy villain, but he's really not a bad person.
  • Cool Teacher: A nice guy who teaches his subject well and also provides some life lessons to Kvothe.
  • Large Ham: According to Kvothe (who was raised with entertainers), he's a gifted showman, and his lessons reflect his flair.
  • Nice Guy: He's one of the nicest characters in the series. He has an easy-going temperament and goes out of his way to help Kvothe on several occasions.

Master Physicker.
  • Consummate Professional: Despite his casual demeanor, Arwyl is serious about medical ethics and protocol.
  • Cool Old Guy: Despite being quite stern, he a fairly grounded person and doesn't delude himself with how students' heads really work. He believes he would not probably be this way if he were older, though.
  • Stern Teacher: Enough to scare Mola. Pretty justified, because in medicine, one mistake can be fatal.

Master Arithmetician.
  • Flat Character: His only characterization is being Hemme's toady and his passion for mathematics.
  • Satellite Character: As said above, the only remarkable thing about him is that he is the only Master who openly likes Hemme.
  • 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 and didn't take up that subject.
  • Unknown Character: We know absolutely nothing about his personality or lack thereof.


A close friend of Kvothe's. He is skilled in alchemy and poetry.
  • Adorkable: He's a classic example of this, with his desire to have friends and constant kindness to Kvothe.
  • Beta Couple: He gets into a relationship with Fela.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Compared to those around him, at least.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: For all his naivety, he is more than a bit obsessed about girls (sometimes in a pitiable way), although he is firmly a Nice Guy despite all.
  • Class Clown: "Technically he played the joke on the lute." ... "Sorry."
  • 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.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Subverted. It's implied that many women think he's this, but he really is just a kind and gentle person by nature. He is certainly a bit girl crazy, though.
  • Genius Ditz: He's very naive and airheaded in a lot of ways, but he's not dumb. He really knows his alchemy, and also surprises his friends with his knowledge of Eld Vintic and skill at poetry.
  • Good Is Not Dumb: Kvothe states that people assume Sim is stupid because he's friendly.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness
  • Nice Guy: His defining trait is that he's a sweet, nice guy.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: With Wilem. Simmon is the Red Oni.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Simmon is defined by his status as a Nice Guy and he's close friends with Wilem, who's tougher and more stoic. A good example is how he can't stop himself from crying after Kvothe's lute playing wins him his talent pipes.
  • Serial Romeo: Can't keep a girl to stay with him for more than a week until Fela.

A close friend of Kvothe's. Wilem is Cealdish and works as a scriv in the University Archives.
  • Afraid of Blood: He hates being in the Medica and admits that he doesn't like the sight of blood.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Thanks to his Cealdish accent, most everything he says sounds deadpan, and is not above using this to enhance his sarcasm.
  • Funny Foreigner: Downplayed. He finds some of the Commonwealth's standards to be silly and/or annoying, but little humor is made of it aside from his own snarky appreciations.
  • Never Gets Drunk: He drinks with the rest of his friends, but he holds his liqueur quite well and affects a lack of intoxication.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: With Simmon. Wilem is the Blue Oni.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The manly man to Sim's sensitive guy, Wilem comes off as more stoic and tougher than his more emotional friend.

One of Kvothe's few female friends at the University.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: When she is made Re'lar for knowing the name of stone.
  • Beta Couple: Forms one with Simmon.
  • Buxom Is Better: She is noted a few times as being very curvaceous.
  • Hot Librarian: One of the prettiest girls in the University and works as a student in the Archive.
  • Shrinking Violet: Not overly, but she is still the least extroverted of Kvothe's female friends. Their early interactions highlight it, particularly given that she barely makes advances on Kvothe during all the time she is said to be in love with him. She also comments on it, stating that she was forced to confront herself when Kvothe saved her life and admit that she is not as bold as she believed.
  • Rapunzel Hair: According to Kvothe's description of her, her hair reaches down to her backside.
  • Rescue Romance: She falls in love with Kvothe after he saves her life, but he only has eyes for Denna. She eventually moves on to Sim.
  • Wrench Wench: One of her areas of study is Artificing, which involves engineering.

A member of the Arcanum who works in the Medica. She is always the one to take care of Kvothe when he's hurt.
  • Characterization Marches On: She looks a bit scared and nervous when she is introduced by Arwyal, exactly the opposite to how she is virtually always afterwards, either in her job and out of it.
  • The Cynic: She is pretty grumpy, in contrast with the rest of Kvothe's female friends — possibly because she is a doctor and, among other things, has to sort out and glue together Kvothe's bits after every injury.
  • Dr. Jerk: She's blunt and rather snarky, though she realizes when she's crossed a line.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Subverted. She has blond hair and works as a healer, but is not particularly likable.
  • Social Circle Filler: Inverted. Kvothe promotes her surprisingly quickly to his True Companions, even although he actually does not know her much aside from having been her patient a couple times in the Medica.
  • The Spock: Out of all the female characters in the series, Mola is the least emotional and most analytical, which helps her excel as a medical student.
  • The Stoic: Her flustered introduction by Arwyl (which might count as Early Installment Weirdness) is the only time we see her expressing a direct emotion. Most of the time, she is cool and slightly sarcastic.

A Modegan noble and another friend of Kvothe's at University.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: He's a friend of Kvothe's in the first book, but he completely disappears in the second and does not even get a mention. (According to Rothfuss, it is because he literally forgot about him when he was writing the sequel.) He later gets a little cameo in the Tak Companion Book.
  • Flat Character: Due to how little he appears, it is not much what we learn about his personality aside from being a friendly but decadent upper class student.
  • Spoiled Brat: Subvterted. He's an aristocrat and shows the worst, most classical side of this when drunk, but most of the time he is a friendly guy who doesn't care about his pals' social status.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Despite being a noble attending the University, he's not the brightest. His admissions went so badly that he had to sell his rings to pay for them.

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.
  • Author Avatar: He looks like a half-parody of Rothfuss himself. Just like him, has been an undergrad for an exaggerated amount of years (a much more absurd number in Manet's case) and has a "marvelous facebear" (i.e. beard). Manet also has a surprisingly successful love life, which, if it is not an author trait, it is surely one any author would like to have.
  • Cool Old Guy: He may be the lowest rank of student at the University and stay there longer than anyone expects, but he associates with people much younger than himself (because no other students are his age) and is happy to mentor them and see them grow.
  • Dismotivation: He loves being a student at the University so much that he actively avoids graduation. In fact, he avoids trying to move up the ranks because despite the additional privileges that might bring him it would also mean his tuition would go up and he wants to keep it to something he can afford in perpetuity.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: He has more experience working in the Fishery than anyone besides Master Kilvin, and seems to make a living (including his tuition) off working there. He might not have authorization to use some of the more esoteric stuff the Fishery can produce, but is masterful at the basics.
  • Hidden Depths: It is hinted that he is not as comfortable on his low place in the University as he wants to appear. In an instance, he claims with too much zeal that ascending ranks and graduating are "overrated", which has all the looks of a Suspiciously Specific Denial.
  • Kavorka Man: He may seem to have put his casual romance years behind him, but when he puts his mind to it he can approach women younger men might think out of his league and thanks to his confidence actually woo them.

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.
  • Barefoot Loon: Her lack of footwear is a way to let us know there's something wrong with her.
  • Broken Bird: She's been through quite the Trauma Conga Line, which left her more than a little unhinged.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Treats everything as sapient, and is preoccupied with putting everything in its correct place. Her goal appears to be making the entire Underthing into a place where everything fits perfectly.
  • Cuckoosnarker: Sometimes demonstrates a sharp wit, when she's not rambling about fantasy things.
    ''"I was wondering, Auri. Would you mind showing me the Underthing?"
    Auri looked away, suddenly shy. "Kvothe, I thought you were a gentleman," she said, tugging self-consciously at her ragged shirt. "Imagine, asking to see a girl's underthing." She looked down, her hair hiding her face.
    I held my breath for a moment, choosing my next words carefully lest I startle her back underground. While I was thinking, Auri peeked at me through the curtain of her hair.
    "Auri," I asked slowly, "are you joking with me?"
    She looked up and grinned. "Yes I am," she said proudly. "Isn't it wonderful?”''
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Implied given her "cracked" status, but the actual events are not described. Kvothe knows not to ask, because every time he tries is sends her running away.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: She spends the entire time barefoot, explictly by preference.
  • Expy: She is similar enough to Luna Lovegood to be probably intentionally inspired on her. Even her most frequently alluded-to trait, that of being a Barefoot Loon, is also demonstrated by Luna in the films (although by different reasons).
  • Loon with a Heart of Gold: A kooky yet good-natured girl who helps out Kvothe in various ways. It is implied in The Slow Regard of Silent Things that her quirkiness and her high moral standards are interrelated: she sees all things as sapient, and believes that even a little bit of self-interest on her part would violate the laws of the world.
  • Mysterious Waif: If you consider her gifts of a key, coin and candle, which are known as Taborlin the Great's tools... (We also don't know her backstory or even her name, so she very much qualifies.)
  • Older Than She Looks: It is very easy to forget that she actually is older than Kvothe — her estimated age is twenty.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Auri's not actually her real name. When Kvothe tried to ask her what her real name was, she freaked out and ran. After that, he decides to call her Auri and according to her narration in The Slow Regard of Silent Things, she seems to like that one much better.
  • The Ophelia: A young and pretty girl who is at the same time more than a little weird.
  • Hidden Depths: She is a highly skilled chemist and alchemist, claiming to be more skilled than her former teacher and the University's Master Alchemist, Mandrag.
  • Rape as Backstory: The Slow Regard of Silent Things implies that she was raped, and that's not even her biggest problem.
  • Shrinking Violet: To an extreme. Kvothe had to try several times to get her to even come out of hiding, and she's easily spooked by new people. Just asking her questions about herself can cause her to flee.
  • Super OCD: Things have to be in exactly the right spot, and she has specific rituals she follows. This is most obvious in her description of her routines in The Slow Regard of Silent Things, and in the candle-making scene.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: She does not like moonless nights.

    Ambrose Jakis 
The firstborn son of a powerful and wealthy baron and the nemesis of Kvothe in the University.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: He's a spoiled and extremely wealthy aristocrat, and serves to push forward Kvothe's idea that all (or at least most) aristocrats are like this. Subverted in that a lot of his antagonism towards Kvothe actually comes from Kvothe's own actions.
  • The Bully: He's the bully of the University, especially targeting Kvothe.
  • Expy: The Malfoy to Kvothe's Potter, except unfortunately more competent and with even fewer scruples. He doesn't even have Draco's excuse of being a child.
  • Flat Character: There's really nothing to his character besides petty malice. On occasion, it is hinted that he is a student with his own problems who would honestly prefer not to have an Arch-Enemy as persistent as Kvothe is, but because the story is being told by Kvothe, who despises him, the narrative avoids dwelling on anything that might humanize Ambrose.
  • Hate Sink: The Chandrian may be the Bigger Bad of the series, but Ambrose is such a petty smug bastard that it's impossible not to despise him.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: He's small potatoes compared to the story's actual Big Bad, but when Kvothe tries to handle him like he'd handle a common street bully in Tarbean, he ends up sorely regretting it. What Ambrose lacks in cleverness, he makes up for in wealth, influence, and sheer nastiness, and he manages to shock Kvothe with how quickly he escalates their feud from mean pranks to outright murder attempts.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Kvothe's friends remind him that Ambrose is not subject to the same discipline as the rest of the students, as punishing him would incur his father's wrath.
  • Smug Snake: He's very impressed by his machinations, but he's not as cunning as he thinks he is. Kvothe notes that Ambrose would never pass up an opportunity to gloat about his success over a victim.


The partner of Stanchion and co-owner of The Eolian in Imre.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Denna suspects him to be gay and says his partner is Stanchion, while Willem lends her credibility yet thinks he might be actually a bisexual. None of this is ever confirmed, however.
  • Bouncer: His role at the Eolian is working the door. His massive arms show that he's not to be trifled with.
  • Cultured Badass: He's a Bouncer, but also seems to greatly enjoy music and theatre.

The partner of Deoch and co-owner of The Eolian in Imre.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Denna believes he and Deoch are in a relationship, but it is never confirmed. Unlike Deoch, he is not shown to have female companions.
  • 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.
  • The Bartender: "Anker's" is the inn and bar that he runs, where Kvothe lives and performs.
  • Nice Guy: He gives Kvothe room and board in exchange for Kvothe working as house musician for four nights a span.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: When Ambrose begins threatening pubs not to hire Kvothe as musician, Anker's the only one who refuses his demands and hires Kvothe anyway, among other things because Ambrose has little influence on his inn's type of patronage and thus cannot screw him up easily. He even states he would hire Kvothe even if it wasn't a good business, only to rub it in Ambrose's face.

A moneylender in Imre who makes loans to Kvothe so that he can pay his tuition. Also, a former member of the Arcanum; she was expelled for reasons that are, as yet, unknown.
  • Affably Evil: She might have a reputation as The Dreaded Loan Shark but that does not mean she is not a gracious host to her clients.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Throughout the first two books, it is not clear what her ultimate agenda is, far she will go to achieve it, or just what she might do to those who default on her. At times, Kvothe even suspects with good reason that she might be behind some of the misfortunes that befall him. By the end of Wise Man's Fear, this specific thought is disproven, but her hidden intentions are still present.
  • Badass Adorable: She is relatively young and attractive, but also one of the best sympathetic duelists of her generation of students.
  • The Chessmaster: As Kvothe finally deduces, she is not interested in money, and instead targets students in problems because she expects them to fail at giving back her money in order to get them to owe her favors.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Her meetings with Kvothe are always framed as sparring of wits, which they both seem to take some joy in.
  • The Dreaded: She's referred as "Demon Devi" by several people, all of whom chastise Kvothe for getting mixed up with her.
  • Fiery Redhead: Rarely shows the fiery side, but when she does, it's enough to run.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: She really wants into the Archives, but we have no idea why.
  • Loan Shark: She loans money to desperate students, in exchange for a drop of their blood as... collateral. By the end of Wise Man's Fear, Kvothe figures out that she is not in the business of lending money so much as being owed favors.
  • Meaningful Name: Devi, as in devil, or more properly in a Deal with the Devil. Bonus points for being a redhead and using Blood Magic on her clientes.
  • Riddle for the Ages: It's left unclear in the books why was she expelled from the University, although her underhanded nature hints she did something that was neither nice nor lawful.
  • Weakness Turns Her On: How she explains her attraction to Kvothe, though it's very likely she was being sarcastic.

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: Everyone loves him at the Eolian.
  • Uncle Pennybags: He really, really wants to be this to Kvothe and help him out, but he just doesn't have the money to spare for another patronship.


A strange man who appears to live in the Archives, and is a constant source of information for Wilem and Simmon.

  • Barefoot Loon: Downplayed in comparison to the rest of examples in the books. He at least keeps his socks on and apparently relegates the quirk to his place.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: 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.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Apparently, the University just does that to people.
  • Cool Old Guy: He helps students for free when they have questions about the Archives, and is described as a man with white hair and thin on top.
  • Creepy Doll: He likes to make puppets, to the extent that his room is full of them.
  • Mysterious Past: Nothing is revealed about who exactly is he or why does he live in the Archives. Is he a former student who went mad like Auri? A former University employee who went mad like Elodin? Or just a regular archive clerk who is that weird?

The Edema Ruh Troupe

Kvothe's father and the leader of the Edema Ruh troupe that carried the patronage of Baron Greyfallow.
  • Agent Scully: Despite collecting information on the Chandrian for his song, Arliden doesn't actually believe in them, and expresses surprise when Ben is superstitious enough to ask him to not say their names aloud.
  • Good Parents: Much like Kvothe's mother, Arliden is shown to be a loving and supportive parent to Kvothe.
  • Gutted Like a Fish: Kvothe reveals that his stomach had been cut open. He crawled twenty feet, leaving a trail of blood, just to be closer to Laurian.
  • Happily Married: Technically she and Arliden aren't married, but Kvothe says they considered themselves married, and they were much happier and more faithful than legally married couples were.
  • Posthumous Character: Most of what we learn about him is after he dies.
  • 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 asks Arliden not to say the member's names out loud, 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: He and his troupe travel the country, performing in towns and villages.

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.
  • Agent Scully: Like Arliden, she researches the Chandrian but doesn't believe they actually exist.
  • Fallen Princess: Except she apparently jumped rather than fell.
  • Good Parents: A few sequences show that she's a caring mother who is very involved in his education.
  • Happily Married: Technically she and Arliden aren't married, but Kvothe says they considered themselves married, and they were much happier and more faithful than legally married couples were.
  • Posthumous Character: She dies very early in the story, but Kvothe reflects a lot about her over the rest of the story.
  • Uptown Girl: She was a noble who fell in love with Arliden and ran away with him.
  • Wandering Minstrel: She wanders the country alongside her husband and troupe, performing for others.

Kvothe's first teacher of sympathy and science, an arcanist and alumnus of the University.
  • Cool Old Guy: He becomes fast friends with Kvothe for being a good teacher and all around fun person.
  • The Mentor: Teaches Kvothe a lot of what he needs to know to join the University.
  • 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.
  • Properly Paranoid: Ben asks Arliden not to recite the names of the Chandrian he's discovered out-loud, saying that names have power and all stories describe the Chandrian as dangerous. When Arliden and Laurian express shock at his superstition, he fires back with an excellent bit of reasoning. If a group of people warn you about monsters in the woods, even if you don't believe in monsters, would you still go in the woods anyway?
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: While Ben's not exactly ugly, he is depicted as old, fat and balding, whereas he ends up in a relationship with an extremely beautiful, younger widow.

A member of Kvothe's troupe, mentioned when discussing Knacks.
  • The Jester: This seems to be his role in the troupe. He wears motley and has the quickest wit in the group, which he takes advantage of to make fun of people without getting in trouble for it.
  • Posthumous Character: Dies early in the story.
  • 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: He wears no shoes, for anything but the absolute bare necessities he would sell and spend the money on the children he takes care of. Kvohe later gifts him footwear.
  • Friend to All Children: He seems to have taken it upon himself that his calling in life is to care for those who others cannot. His basement serves as a sort of safe-haven for the street urchins of Tarbean. Any food he has is given freely, and sickness he can comfort he does so, and the only thing he asks in return is that those children who can contribute some material or effort to help the other children who cannot should do so.
  • Good Shepherd: It is implied, with mentions of his gray robes, that he is (or at least was) some kind of priest of the Tehlin church. Later confirmed by Rothfuss.
  • 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He lets the corrupt Tehlin officials have it.
  • I Never Told You My Name: A non-sinister version, he somehow knows Kvothe's name when he's an orphan boy even though Kvothe never told him it.
  • Mysterious Past: Implied, based on his claim of connections and his evident light treatment at the hands of the Tehlin church despite his heresy.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: Described as piercing.
  • The Storyteller: He's renown as a storyteller who reportedly knows every story in existence. Kvothe learns about Lanre's turn into Haliax from him.


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.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Downplayed. While not evil, and certainly a sensible man, he is still petty, whimsical and a bit of a Manchild, as expected of a noble in this universe.
  • Manchild: Kvothe sees him as such, despite his advanced age, due to his superstition and whimsical nature. Aside from this, it's also interesting to note that the Maer seems a bit romantically shy when speaking about his own feelings for Meluan.
  • Playing Cyrano: The reason the Maer was seeking someone talented with words was because he wanted their help in wooing Meluan Lackless. Kvothe gets inspiration from his own feelings for Denna to write songs and letters which are powerful enough to convince Meluan to marry the Maer.
  • 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.
  • Simple, yet Opulent: Wears simple yet extremely well made and always brand new clothing. Kvothe realizes it's a subtle but extreme show of privilege to be constantly wearing and discarding expensively tailored clothing.
  • 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 agrees to be Kvothe's patron, if not officially, at least economically. 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...
  • Berserk Button: Anything to do with the Edema Ruh. There's a reason.
  • Fantastic Racism: She absolutely despises the Edema Ruh, and her prejudice is what triggers Kvothe's dismissal from the Maer's city after Kvothe reveals his heritage.
  • Freudian Excuse: Kvothe believes her hatred of the Edema Ruh comes from her sister, Netalia Lackless, running away to join an Edema Ruh troupe.
  • You Remind Me of X: It's mentioned she reminds Kvothe of someone he cannot remember.

The Maer's physician.
  • Meaningful Name: Its name sounds like "caduceus" (☤) is a symbol often used in America for the medical industry. However, this usage is historically incorrect and comes from its similarity to the Rod of Asclepius, which is used in the medical industry. 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. Indeed, [[folder:while Caudicus looks like a faithful doctor at first, he's actually working against his patient.]]

A noble who Kvothe befriends quickly.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: An aversion, although it is implied he is not as friendly as he looks.
  • Blue Blood: Despite not introducing himself with any title, Bredon was obviously born to great wealth, as Kvothe is quick to notice.
  • Cool Old Guy: He quickly befriends Kvothe in spite of their age difference.
  • Hidden Depths: While usually a polite, friendly fellow, a rara avis in the World of Jerkass that is nobility in the setting, he turns scary whenever he gets very into his Tak games. This is notably not Played for Laughs, hinting his friendly demeanor is not the full extent of his personality.
  • Smart People Play Chess: He teaches Kvothe how to play Tak, a strategy game in Temerant that's the equivalent of chess. He's also portrayed as one of the smarter members of Vintish nobility. He doesn't care so much about winning so much as he does playing "a beautiful game."

    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.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: A classical example, being tough, burly, merry and a tad dumb (but less than he looks).
  • The Big Guy: Tall and stocky, though a bit quicker than he looks.
  • Everyone Can See It: He's in love with Hespe, but can't see her obvious affection for him.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Zig-zagged. Kvothe pegs him as a dim-witted thug at first and quickly changes his opinion. That said, while not dim-witted, he is still a fair bit of a thug.

A mercenary who usually works with Dedan and Marten.
  • Action Girl: A female mercenary, which is rare in the setting (though not very rare).
  • Everyone Can See It: She's in love with Dedan, but apparently doesn't notice his own affection for her.
  • Hidden Depths: She knows a story about Jax, the Namer who stole the moon, though she only knows a fairy tale version of it.
  • The Lad-ette: She's the female of the mercenary company.

A mercenary who usually works with Dedan and Hespe.
  • The Archer: The only archer in the group. It's his preferred weapon.
  • Cool Old Guy: The first of the mercenaries Kvothe actually befriends, due to his appreciation for quick wit and humor, and the oldest of all them, being roughly middle-aged.
  • Divine Intervention: His terrified praying appears to be what makes Cinder flee in the confrontation with the mercenaries.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: He's an excellent tracker and scout, to the point that he trains Kvothe and Tempi.
  • The Smart Guy: He's the wisest in the party and the most experienced in their job.

An Adem mercenary who is the first to teach Kvothe about the Ketan and the Lethani.
  • Butt-Monkey: Though he's definitely competent, the other Adem hold him in some contempt.
  • The Comically Serious: His folk's trademark unexpressiveness makes gold of some of his exchanges, especially cultural misunderstandings, which are not few.
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue: Kvothe assumes this is the reason why Tempi initially doesn't speak much. While it is textually true, the real reasons of his mutism are cultural.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: We learn that "Tempi" literally means "little iron," which is a reference to him being such a troublesome student.
  • Fish out of Water: Due to working in a culture radically different from his own, which often causes unintentional hilarity. Still, it is shown he is not as lost at it as he makes it look himself.
  • Funny Foreigner: Sometimes played straight; at one point invoked by Tempi himself to defuse a tense moment by pretending not to understand the word "balls" and its context.
  • Informed Flaw: While many of his folk consider him unintelligent and not worldly enough, with Vashet directly deeming him a dork, nothing of this is explicitly shown aside from his decision to divulgate the Ketan against their laws. Otherwise, he is not more ignorant or intolerant towards foreign customs than the average Adem, and it could be said he actually shows more social intelligence than most of them, including higher ranked ones.
  • The Quiet One: Subverted. He's the quiet one in the mercenary band, but for an Adem, he's a motor mouth.
  • Smarter Than You Look: His quietness and weird customs make Dedan and Kvothe himself think he is not very smart, or at least not properly briefed about their mission, but it is not the case. Even knowing this, Kvothe is surprised again when Tempi capitalizes deliberately on his Funny Foreigner status to ease tensions in the group.
  • The Stoic: Subverted. He appears to be, but only because the Adem emote using hand language rather than facial expressions.


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.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: First subverted and then downplayed. Kvothe wonders if that's the case given the Adem's martial culture, but Vashet clarifies it is not; while Shehyn is undoubtedly an excellent Ketan master, she is not the strongest in the village, nor it is a requirement to be the head of the school. However, Sheyn is still one of the best Ketanists in the story, and Vashet admits they would not accept a downright bad fighter in her job.
  • Never Mess with Granny: She's a consummate martial artist even at her advanced age.
  • Nice Hat: She wears a goofy hat made by her granddaughter. Kvothe eventually states that he likes it, which makes Vashet think he's an idiot.
  • Old Master: She's the master of the school.

A female Adem who first rebukes Tempi for teaching Kvothe their secrets.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Her anger and arrogance are her defining attributes.
  • The Bully: She seeks Kvothe out to taunt him regularly and vows to cripple him during his stone trial.
  • Flat Character: Even more than Ambrose, her only characteristic is being antagonistic to Kvothe.
  • Hate Sink: During Kvothe's stay in Ademre, she's an Adem with nearly no redeeming qualities. She constantly antagonizes and bullies Kvothe, looks down on him as a barbarian, and flat-out promises to cripple him during the stone trial.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Subverted. She is Kvothe's first of three opponents in his Ketan test, which is both odd and scary given that she seems to be good enough to trade hits offscreen with the best fighter in the village.

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.
  • Hot Teacher: Her student Kvothe is very attracted to her, and they have sex regularly. She just views it as a way of keeping his mind on the training instead of on finding her distracting.
  • Jerkass with a Heart of Gold: She is wise enough in the non-Adem ways to know whenever she is being rude and callous towards Kvothe, but she does not care about it. That said, she is not a bad person deep down.
  • Mr. Exposition: About the Ketan and the Adem.

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.
  • Groin Attack: Her go-to move, helped by the fact she can reach easier for it with her arms against Kvothe due to her small size. Vashet criticizes her for using it too often, making her predictable.
  • Little Miss Badass: Ten years old and able to outfight boys twice her size.

Grandmother of Vashet, and the keeper of names and histories for the Adem living in Haert. She is the one to give Kvothe his Adem name, Maedre, as well as to teach him the history of his sword Caesura.

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.
  • all lowercase 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.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Kvothe notes that Fae are like humans the way alcohol is like water. They may look similar, but they are fundamentally different, making them somewhat unfathomable to humans.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Nor any piece of clothing, actually. Kvothe makes a point that even her feet are sexy.
  • The Fair Folk: And quite a traditional variant in that she is proud, mercurial, possessive, and unaware that mortals have any value beyond the amusement they give her.
  • Glory Seeker: Although the glory she seeks is not the typical one for this trope.
  • Horny Devils: She's an insatiable lover.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Kvothe resists her maddening beauty via the Heart of Stone, and this is what makes her start to acknowledge him as a person and not a plaything.
  • Pretty Butterflies: Often she is surrounded by butterflies, which seem to pick up on her emotions somewhat — they land on her when she's contented and scatter when she's angry.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: She is always naked and sexually charged, although how much she know about nudity taboos is up for debate given that her knowledge of human psychology is certainly lacking.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: She and Kvothe have an exchange in which they rhyme to each other.
  • Time Abyss: She's been around since before Lanre's Betrayal, at least.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: Of two worlds.

    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.
  • And I Must Scream: It doesn't often get to talk to people, what with the Sithe around, and can't leave its tree: it's an eternity of solitary confinement.
  • Badass Boast: I am Cthaeh. I am. I see. I know. At times I speak.
  • 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.
  • Disaster Dominoes: After someone speaks to the Cthaeh, their every action will touch off chains of events that lead to ruin and disaster.
  • The Dreaded: According to Bast it's even more dangerous than the Chandrian, to the point that he'd rather face them all alone rather than exchange ten words with the Cthaeh. The Sithe are so scared of it they'll kill you just for trying to talk to it.
  • Eldritch Abomination: An ancient, omniscient entity whom even The Fair Folk, specially the fair folk, absolutely dread, treated as a thing man was not meant to know, living eternally locked to its tree and that enjoys causing the most destruction and despair possible.
  • For the Evulz: Seemingly one of its goals is to spread suffering just because it likes to. It can see how the future will unfold, and does what it can to manipulate events to create the maximum amount of destruction and misery possible. During the conversation it shares with Kvothe, it delights in Kvothe's pain as it tells him about the murder of his parents, and of Denna's abuse at the hands of her patron.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: If Bast is to be believed, the Chthaeh is indirectly responsible for the existence of the Chandrian, as well as the Creation War and various other awful historical events.
  • Kill All Humans: Its actual motivations are somewhat mysterious, but appear to be along these lines.
  • Knight of Cerebus: In-Universe. Bast mentions that when the Cthaeh tree appears in the background of a Fae play, it's a signal that everything is going to end in tragedy and disaster.
  • The Omniscient: According to Bast.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Or at least a tree.
  • 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 Rule of 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.
  • Time Abyss: It's been around since before Iax stole the Moon, at least.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The Cthaeh's conversational partners all become this.
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Though it wasn't the one who murdered Kvothe's parents, since it's a sadist, it uses its seeming omniscience to mock him for their deaths. it says his father "begged and blubbered" and that Cinder did "terrible things" to his mother.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: It's impossible to second-guess the Cthaeh. No matter what you choose, that choice will have been the worst possible choice you could make.

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.
  • The Apprentice: He's Kvothe's student, though by his own admission, he's a bit of a lousy one, shirking studies to chase girls instead.
  • Berserk Button: Toward disrespect to Kvothe.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Beneath his goofy facade is a very old being willing to do horrible things.
  • Blue Blood: He's a noble of the Faen Courts.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Happily helps a boy in return for knowledge of where a pretty village girl bathes.
  • The Fair Folk: The Mael are similar to Fae, but not the same.
  • Fauns and Satyrs: His appearance evokes this when he drops his glamour. He has cloven hooves instead of feet, and official artwork has his legs covered in fur. He certainly fills the satyr stereotype of lasciviousness.
  • Glamour Failure: When dealing with iron.
  • 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.
  • Heroic BSoD: Goes into one temporarily after he discovers that Kvothe spoke with the Cthaeh.
  • Mood Ring Eyes: When he drops the glamour his eyes are fully blue with no sclera.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Capitalizes on it happily, if the audience his bathing attracts is anything to go by.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Kvothe first mentions the Cthaeh, Bast spectacularly and thoroughly flips out. This, more than anything else, underscores just how utterly terrifying the Cthaeh is.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: He's quick with a witticism and often behaves in a boyish fashion.
  • Poisonous Friend: Threatens to make Chronicler's life a living hell if he doesn't help Kvothe get back to his old self. Later he hires some men to rob Kvothe in a similar bid.
  • Pretty Boy: He's boyishly handsome and quite popular with the ladies.
  • Really 700 Years Old: He's actually over 150 years old.
  • Wild Card: He cares about Kvothe, but he's willing to do morally questionable things to get Kvothe back to his old self. That coupled with his alien morality as a member of The Fair Folk makes him unpredictable.

One of the common patrons of the inn.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: His stories are all many times removed from their original sources, and he's not above simply making up parts that he doesn't know, even if that amounts to the entire story.
  • The Storyteller: His self-assigned role in the inn is regaling the regulars with popular tales. He gets offended when Kvothe tries to tell a story and takes over.

A blacksmith apprentice, and a common patron at the inn.
  • The Big Guy: Not only is he a blacksmith, he's also taller than Kvothe. Dude's huge.
  • Smarter Than You Look: He looks big and appears dumb (as Bast notes) but proves himself a little more watchful than anyone in town.

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.

  • Bald of Evil: The only other member of the group that Kvothe heard speaking aside from Cinder and Haliax was a bald-headed old man.
  • Beard of Evil: The bald member of their group is also described as bearded.
  • The Dreaded: People fear even saying their names, for good reason.
  • Flying Dutchman: The entire group is on the run from something. Haliax mentions that he keeps the group safe from the Amyr, the Sithe, and a group called the Singers.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: They're the greatest known evil in the setting, and Kvothe is determined to hunt them down and find out about them, but apart from one or two notable exceptions, they personally remain detached from his adventures.
  • He Knows Too Much: They make it a point to murder anyone who finds out too much about them or their goals. They slaughtered Kvothe's troupe because his father found out their names and was using them in a song, and massacred a wedding group in Trebon because the hosts found a piece of pottery depicting them.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: As the song goes, "What's their plan? What's their plan?" So far nobody knows. Haliax claims they have a deeper goal but nothing concrete about it has been revealed.
  • I Have Many Names: They're referred to as the Chandrian, the Seven, the Rhinta and the Nameless.
  • Leave No Survivors: They try not to leave survivors during their massacres. Haliax orders Cinder to kill Kvothe despite him knowing nothing, and the only reason Kvothe survives is because something interrupted them.
  • Motive Decay: Haliax reprimands the rest of the group for taking too much satisfaction in their petty cruelties instead of focusing on their true purpose. What that purpose is has yet to be revealed.
  • Outside-Context Problem: What makes them so terrifying to people is that no one knows what they really are. Theories of them range from spirits to demons, to the first people to refuse the Path of Tehlu, to those cursed by Selitos at the sack of Myr Tariniel after the end of the Creation War.
  • The Pig-Pen: The Adem poem describes Usnea as living in "nothing but decay."
  • Plague Master: Alenta is implied to be this, as the Adem poem states he or she "brings the blight."
  • Present Absence: The Myth Arc of the trilogy is Kvothe searching for answers about them, but the entire group has only personally appeared once so far. Cinder makes a brief appearance in the second book as the bandit leader, but he says nothing and Kvothe only learns of his identity later from the Cthaeh.
  • Red Right Hand: Haliax is perpetually hidden in shadows, while Cinder has pale white skin and completely black eyes.
  • Rule of Seven: They're the most ominous and mysterious group in the Four Corners of Civilization. The name "Chandrian" in Temic literally translates to "seven of them."
  • Shrouded in Myth: To a fairytale, maybe even bogeyman-like degree, especially since they murder anyone who seems to be finding out too much about them.
  • Speak of the Devil: Speaking their true names draws their attention. It's how they found Kvothe's troupe, since Arliden kept saying their names while practicing his song.
  • The Speechless/The Voiceless: Grey Dalcenti is said to never speak, though it's unknown if Dalcenti can't speak or won't.
  • Technicolor Fire: The most infamous sign of their presence is fire turning blue. Presumably this is due to Cyphus who is said to "bear the blue flame."
  • Villain Song: There's a folk song about them, usually sung by children, called, "Chandrian, Chandrian."
  • Would Hurt a Child: They don't discriminate their victims based on age.
  • You Killed My Father: Kvothe wants revenge on the entire group for killing his parents and his troupe.


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.

  • Back from the Dead: The story Skarpi relates about Lanre says that his wife, Lyra, was powerful enough at naming to call him back from the dead. In present day, it's said his power is so great that it will keep reviving him whether he wants it to or not.
  • Big Bad: As the leader of the Chandrian, Haliax is the closest thing the series has to one. Though he doesn't take much of a personal role in Kvothe's tale.
  • Casting a Shadow: Among other things, he uses his shadow to conceal and teleport the Chandrian.
  • Dark Is Evil: According to legend, the darkness surrounding him is a curse his former friend laid on him for Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Haliax rebukes Cinder and the other Chandrian for being too cruel, though it might also be Pragmatic Villainy at work; he doesn't want them getting distracted or forgetting whom they serve.
  • Fallen Hero: Lanre was known as a great hero during the Creation War, but whatever he saw when he tried to resurrect his lover convinced him that life is an abomination.
  • Flying Dutchman: Despite his power, he's still on the run from something.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Despite wanting to die, his immense power prevents him from staying dead.
  • I Have Many Names: He's known by Haliax, Alaxel, and Lanre.
  • I Know Your True Name: Haliax is suggested to have great power at naming, as he effortlessly uses Cinder's to bind him to his will.
  • Necromantic: When his wife, Lyra, died, Lanre sought the power to bring her back. Unfortunately, not only was this power not enough to resurrect her, but it made himself unable to die.
  • Shadow Walker: He can use the shadows that converge on him to teleport himself and other members of the Chandrian.
  • The Sleepless: Part of the curse that made him Haliax.
  • Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred: According to Skarpi, Haliax tried to get his former friend, Selitos, to kill him this way after he forced Selitos to watch the destruction of his city. However, Selitos knew that Haliax could never be killed, so cursed him with the shadows that surround him instead.
  • Time Abyss: According to the Cthaeh, who's even older than he is, Haliax is 5,000 years-old.
  • Tortured Monster: He can never forget, sleep, go insane, or die.
  • Was Once a Man: Lanre used to be normal, if exceptional, man. Then he, in his despair, meddled with forces he wasn't supposed to and became immortal and, later, cursed for all eternity.
  • We Can Rule Together: Skarpi's tale says that Lanre offered his friend, Selitos, a powerful namer, the chance to join his group. Considering he did this after forcing Selitos to watch the destruction of his city, it shouldn't be surprising that Selitos cursed him and the Chandrian instead.
  • We Used to Be Friends: He used to be friends and allies with Selitos prior to his corruption into Haliax.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Lanre thought immortality was a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: If the legend is true, his Despair Event Horizon would be tragic if he didn't want to drag the world in after him.


A member of the Chandrian who participated in the slaughter of Kvothe's troupe and the death of his parents. He's the member of the Chandrian that Kvothe has had the most personal interaction with.

  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: When Haliax uses Cinder's true name to hurt him, Cinder isn't above groveling for forgiveness.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Cinder's defining trait are his black eyes along with his white skin.
  • Bullying a Dragon: He makes the mistake of mouthing off to his boss, Haliax, who responds by using his true name to hurt him. Cinder quickly realizes his mistake and begs for forgiveness.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Cinder affects a friendly facade to toy with his victims. His Establishing Character Moment is acting concerned over the twelve-year-old Kvothe's wellbeing, before twisting the knife over his family's death.
  • Holy Burns Evil: It's implied that Martem's terrified praying is what drove Cinder off in his guise as the bandit leader.
  • I Know Your True Name: Haliax knows his, and it's what gives him such power over Cinder.
  • Made of Iron: During the attack on the bandit camp, Cinder displays little concern over the wounds he receives, including an arrow wound through the thigh that should've crippled him.
  • Missed Him by That Much: It's only much later that Kvothe finds out that Cinder was the bandit leader the Maer tasked Kvothe with eliminating, long after Cinder is gone.
  • Noodle Incident: The Cthaeh implies Cinder may have "did him a bad turn" once.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Cinder seems to be a nickname, but it's what Kvothe knows him by. His true name is implied to be Ferule or Ferula.
  • Sadist: He takes pleasure in other people's pain, to the point where Haliax reprimands him for enjoying his petty cruelties too much and losing sight of their group's overall goal.
  • Slasher Smile: Kvothe remembers his terrible, psychotic smile as one of his most terrifying features.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: He has shoulder-length white hair, pale skin, black eyes, and is a sadist who likes to toy with his victims.
  • Would Hurt a Child: All of the Chandrian would, but Cinder deserves special mention for toying with the child first before planning on killing him.
  • You Killed My Father: All of the Chandrian participated in the slaughter of Kvothe's troupe and the deaths of his parents, but the Cthaeh makes special note that Cinder did "terrible things" to Kvothe's mother.


Worshipped 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."
  • God: According to the Tehlin church. In Skarpi's story, Tehlu is merely a chosen by Aleph, who is apprently the true god.
  • Messianic Archetype: In Trapis's 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's story, Tehlu grows to an adult a few weeks after he is born.

Historical and 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).
  • 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, he is described as being unnaturally unlucky even in the most mundane circumstances.
  • 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 because she is humanlike there, but it's still really impressive.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: it's debatable how "unwitting" it was, but the theft of the moon definitely led to every catastrophe in the ancient times and, indirectly, to Kvothe's personal misfortunes.

Most famous of the Edema Ruh.
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: Illien could apparently tame wild animals by playing music to them; this legend was amusingly played with by Kvothe's father.

A duke in the Aturan Empire who was said to have performed macabre medical experiments on living human subjects, killing thousands.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Although he was a Josef Mengele-level monster, most of the medical knowledge of the setting comes directly from his criminal experiments. Some of his last books are lost, meaning he actually went even further.

A legendary philosopher; wrote works such as Theophany and Underlying Principles; apocryphally said to have lived barefoot in a cave.
  • Barefoot Sage: His most common depiction.
  • Small Reference Pools: A lot of people like to attribute other people's aphorisms to him, because he's the only philosopher they know.

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). Word of God is that this was unintentional.

Ruler of the city of Myr Tariniel, one of the most powerful Namers of his time. Legendary founder of the Amyr, according to Skarpi.
  • Eye Scream: Thrusts a pointed stone into one of his eyes as self-punishment for not seeing the darkness in Lanre's heart.
  • Handicapped Badass: After losing an eye, he gained vision.
  • Refusal of the Call: Apparently, Aleph tries to recruit him for his angels, but Selitos refuses in order to pursue the revenge of his beloved city.


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