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Biographical information
Full name

Kvothe, son of Arliden

Alternative name(s)

Kote, Reshi, Maedre, Dulator, Shadicar, Lightfinger, Six-String, Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, Kvothe Kingkiller

Family member(s)


Physical description



♂ Male





Eye color


Political information

Edema Ruh

  • University student (former)
  • Musician (former)
  • Innkeeper
Field of study

Artificing, Medica, Naming

Arcanum rank


Kvothe is the main character in the Kingkiller Chronicle. His name is pronounced nearly the same as quothe, with one syllable.[1]


Kvothe has pale skin and green eyes, though the intensity of this color is often noted as changing throughout the series. He has extremely red hair often likened to a flame. He is exceptionally intelligent, quick-witted, sharp-tongued and clever, as well as a talented musician. He is also very curious, a quality that often gets himself into trouble.

In The ChronicleEdit

Early lifeEdit

Kvothe was born to Arliden and Laurian, leaders of an Edema Ruh troupe under the patronage of Baron Greyfallow. His early education is spotty and eclectic, his teachers being troupers and travellers. This changes when his troupe picks up an arcanist named Abenthy. Meeting Abenthy would be considered a pivotal moment in Kvothe's life, as during his first encounter with the arcanist, he witnesses him call the name of the wind. This ability sparks his interest and ultimately leads him to the University. Abenthy introduces Kvothe to a variety of subjects such as Sympathy, Chemistry, Rhetoric, and Arithmetic in preperation for his admittance to the University. Abenthy eventually left the troupe, much to Kvothe's dismay. It is shortly after Abenthy's departure, Kvothe's troupe are brutally murdered by the Chandrian. An event that substantially effects the young Kvothe's mind. After the horrific discovery and subsequent encounter with Cinder and Haliax, he flees into the nearby woods with nothing but his father's lute. He then spends nearly half a year recovering, completely alone. It is during this time he learns to play the lute so well he can conjure specific feelings and images with the notes. He is eventually forced to leave the forest when too many of his lute strings break and after days of walking, and a little help from a humble farmer named Seth, he reaches Tarbean.


On Kvothe's first day in Tarbean his father's lute is broken when he is robbed, and beaten by street urchins, specifically one named Pike, who he later harbors a grudge against. After this incident he intends to go home with Seth, but instead becomes lost in the city missing his chance. Over the next three years he is forced to beg and steal simply to survive. He does eventually find a well hidden shelter where three roofs meet together above Tarbean's candleworks. The hovel also has the top of the candleworks chimney running through it, providing Kvothe with warmth throughout his stay in the city.

Kvothe learns the in's and out's of being a street urchin, in most cases by hard lessons. One specific incident involves him begging in Hillside, where he might earn better money due to the more upscale residency. Instead, he is caught by a guardsmen and beaten so severely he nearly dies. It is shortly after this that Kvothe becomes terribly ill and seeks out the help of Trapis, a man who has taken it upon himself to care for the discarded children of the city. It is from Trapis that Kvothe hears the story of Tehlu and Encanis. After Kvothe is well again, he becomes very fond of Trapis, often visiting to assist him and work for food.

Shortly before his departure from Tarbean, Kvothe locates Pike, the boy that destroyed his fathers lute, and stalks him back to where he has made his home in an alley. Kvothe observes the young man and finds that he has a stash of sentimental personal belongings. Later, When the boy leaves his shelter, Kvothe steals down into it and destroys everything. He relishes the destruction so much he is caught by Pike, but manages to escape.

After Kvothe's encounter with Pike, he hears of Skarpi, a storyteller who can be found at The Half Mast, a bar in Dockside. It is rumored Skarpi has an open wager to any person who can request a story he does not know. Wishing to hear the story of Lanre, Kvothe decides to pay a visit to the bar. After Skarpi tells the story, Kvothe has a short meeting with the man where he agrees to return the following night. However, Kvothe arrives late and comes in during the story of Myr Tariniel. Shortly thereafter Skarpi is arrested for blasphemy and he makes no further appearances in the story. After this occurance Kvothe decides to leave Tarbean and seek admittance into The University. He proceeds to sell all of his meager possesions, including his book Rhetoric and Logic, a gift from Abenthy. He does, however, get a reciept for the book so he might purchase it back someday. After this, he bids farewell to Trapis and secures himself a place on a caravan lead by Roent. While traveling in the caravan he meets Denna for the first time.

The UniversityEdit

Kvothe is accepted into the University, and manages to enter the Arcanum within three days. He is reunited with Denna, visits Trebon in search of the Chandrian, is raised to Re'lar, and is brought up against the iron law.

First Term (Spring)Edit

Kvothe gains admission to the University under virtually unheard-of circumstances, gaining a scholarship of three talents at the young age of fifteen years old. He is the second youngest student to have ever attended the institution. He meets Simmon, Wilem, Manet, and Sovoy shortly after admissions, becoming fast friends with the group. In his first class, Principles of Sympathy, he finds the course far below his ability level. At the end of the class he attempts to explain this to Master Hemme but is summarily dismissed. The following day, Hemme attempts to embarrass Kvothe by having him teach the class. This sets off a sequence of events leading to Kvothe's first run in with the Universities disciplinary procedures, he is charged with unauthorized use of sympathy as well as malfeasance when he gives Master Hemme a sympathetic hot foot. When the circumstances of his actions are uncovered however, he is spared expulsion and instead receives three lashes as his punishment. This event also gains him access to the arcanum as he proves his prowess in sympathy by enacting a double binding. He is sponsored to E'lir by Master Kilvin, in exchange Kvothe begins his study in artificing. After Kvothe's public whipping, he goes to the medica for treatment, it is here that he becomes acquainted with Master Arwyl who subsequently invites him to participate in study there. These two subjects become Kvothe's most practiced arts, though he is also recognized as an extremely strong sympathist.

One of Kvothe's main interests in attending the University is it's Archives. He manages to spend very little time there however due to his nemesis, Ambrose Jakis. After his admission to the tomes, his quest for information regarding the Chandrian and the Amyr is sequestered by Master Lorren, who discourages the young man from this line of public inquiry. When he gains promotion to the Arcanum and can finally research the subject on his own in the stacks, his quest is again cut short by his banishment from the Archives due to being tricked by Ambrose to enter with an open flame. This banishments lasts into The Wise Man's fear, though Kvothe manages to gain access to the repository much earlier when he is shown a secret entrance by Auri.

During this term, Kvothe develops an determined infatuation with Master Elodin due to his prowess in naming andin hopes that he will eventually sponser him to Re'lar. Kvothe seeks him out to ask about Naming. Elodin toys with him a bit, then takes him to Haven to show him what the hazards of studying Naming can be. Here Elodin instructs Kvothe to jump off the roof, which he does, thinking Elodin will stop him from falling by calling the wind. Elodin does not, and instead tells Kvothe that he is too impulsive and rash to study Naming. Kvothe decides to focus on Artificing.

Second Term (Summer)Edit

In order to pay tuition for his second term, Kvothe seeks out a gaelet and is directed to Devi, who gives him the first of several loans he will eventually take from her. She uses her clients' blood as collateral if they have nothing of value to put up, which Kvothe resists at first but eventually agrees to. He purchases his first lute since his father's was broken in Tarbean.

Kvothe is allowed to study sygaldry under Kilvin's giller Cammar, which takes him seven days rather than the month or even whole term that most students spend. He achieves this largely by setting all one hundred ninety seven runes to a song, which he is able to reference mentally with ease. He is then apprenticed to Manet.

In addition to Artificing, his studies include the Medica, Mathematics, and advanced sympathy with Elxa Dal. His schedule eventually begins to wear on him and around the fifth span he begins to burn out. He remains undefeated in sympathetic dueling, but Wilem and Simmon speak to Kilvin and have him banned from working extra hours in the shop due to his exhaustion.

With a spot of extra time in his schedule, Kvothe decides to look into playing at the Eolian. While practicing in a quiet secluded courtyard, he gradually befriends a timid young girl who lives beneath the University in a network of tunnels and caverns she calls "the Underthing." Kvothe names her Auri and generally keeps their relationship and meetings secret. Willem and Simmon accompany Kvothe to the Eolian when he decides to try for his talent pipes. He plays "The Lay of Sir Savien Traliard", a very difficult song which requires a female accompaniment. He hopes that amongst the talented performers in the Eolian, one will step up and sing the harmony when the time comes. One does after a tense moment of hesitation, and the song goes wonderfully, despite (or partly because of) the fact that a string breaks on his lute during the performance. He wins his talent pipes, figures out that Ambrose used sympathy to break his lute string (giving himself binder's chills in the process and leaving as soon as the performance was over), and discovers after much searching that Denna was the woman to step in and sing the Aloine harmony in the song. She is at the Eolian with Sovoy, going by the name of Dianne.

During admissions week, he makes an arrangement to be a house musician at the Horse and Four. Here, Kvothe and Count Threpe write "Jackass, Jackass" and perform it at the Eolian. Kvothe buys back his copy of Rhetoric and Logic from Master Lorren, and tries unsuccessfully to get his ban from the Archives rescinded. Ambrose charges Kvothe with Conduct Unbecoming a Member of the Arcanum because of the song, however the Masters replace the charge with Undignified Mischief. Three days later, the Hourse and Four is sold to a new owner who tells Kvothe that he is no longer needed. It seems that Ambrose has arranged for the purchase, and also vaguely threatened all of the reputable inns saying hiring Kvothe would cause a lot of trouble. Anker, partly because he needs a musician and partly just to thumb his nose at Ambrose, takes Kvothe in, giving him a small room and access to meals when he is around in exchange for playing four nights a span.

Kvothe finishes the term "not quite sixteen" years old.

Third Term (Fall)Edit

Kvothe limits himself to three fields of study, choosing Advanced Sympathy, a shift in the Medica, and his apprenticeship under Manet.

Denna returns to town, and finds Kvothe at Anker's. They go for a six-hour walk, and the next day she vanishes again, leaving her bill unpaid at the Oaken Oar, where she had been using the name Dinnah.

Kvothe graduates his apprenticeship with Manet by making his customized bulls-eye sympathy lamp, and gets Manet to accidentally reveal that there is a secret way into the Archives.

Denna returns, and meets Simmon and Wilem at the Eolian. They spend the evening in one another's company, and make plans to meet the following day.

The next morning, Kvothe saves Fela from a bone-tar fire in the Fishery and misses his appointment with Denna. He is so poor he cannot even afford to replace the clothes damaged in the fire until some of his work at the Fishery sells, and then he can only buy some used boots. He sees Fela at the Eolian and she gives him a fine new cloak as partial thanks for saving her from the fire. She also declares herself indebted to him. He briefly spots Denna leaving, and worries that she will think he spurned her for Fela, but doesn't chase her.

Two thugs armed with a "finder" (a sympathetic compass made from a hair and used to find the person the hair came from) hunt Kvothe down in an alley on the 28th day of the month (presumably the fifth month of the year) in Imre and attempt to kill him. He manages to use sympathy to blind and stun them long enough to escape, adding to his reputation (they believe he called down fire and lighting upon them). Later, crawling into his rooms through the window, he finds a note Denna left for him wedged into the window several days prior. In it she hints at having met someone interesting about whom she wishes to speak to Kvothe. He takes steps to confound the "finder" in case someone else comes after him and takes a room in an inn near the docks.

The following day, he hears about a wedding near Trebon where it sounds as though the Chandrian appeared and killed everyone. He borrows more money from Devi, buys a horse, and rides sixty miles in half a day to reach the town, where he comes across a tinker to whom he trades away the horse for a loden-stone and various sundry items. At the local inn, he inquires about the wedding, hoping to hear some concrete information about the Chandrian, and discovers that there was one survivor, slightly injured, who turns out to be Denna.

The two of them leave the inn and head towards the Mauthen Farm to see if Denna can find any of her things from before she was knocked unconscious. She tells him about her eccentric potential patron, and Kvothe nicknames him Master Ash. They look around the farm, and Denna tells Kvothe that she saw blue flame during the chaos. What wood remains is rottted, and the iron pump-handle is rusted through. Kvothe tells Denna that he thinks the Chandrian were there. She agrees after some consideration. Denna wants to go looking for Master Ash, so they head into the woods to explore. Eventually they run across Skoivan Schiemmelpfenneg (Schiem), a swineherd with whom they share dinner and hear about a local legend describing something odd that creates blue flame in the bluffs to the north. They head that direction and camp at the top of another hill with a good view of the bluffs, littered with a handful of greystones. Kvothe theorizes that Mauthen dug up an artifact of some kind when building his house, and that seeing it is what got the wedding party killed. They see the blue flame to the north before bedding down for the night.

A draccus wakes them in the middle of the night, as it comes to the hilltop attracted by their fire. It destroys the fire and then eventually leaves in the early morning. Kvothe and Denna make it to the place in the bluffs where they saw a small plume of smoke rising, and find a small (and very strange) encampment. The draccus shows up and they flee into a small cave, where Kvothe figures out that it is a grove of denner trees being cultivated to make ophalum, but not before Denna chews a large amount of it, thinking it to be maple candy. Kvothe tries to help treat her for the drug's effects, but hasn't much to work with. They collect all the ophalum they can find, hoping to sell it back in Imre or the University. In the meantime, he realizes that the draccus is addicted to the resin of the Denner trees and has become dangerous. They decide to try to overdose it with some of the resin. They ball up two thirds of the resin they found and bait the draccus with a fire, then hide to wait for it to arrive. It does so, takes the bait, and starts to fall asleep, but fires from Trebon's harvest festival attract its attention and it races maniacally towards the town. Kvothe leaves Denna, who has passed out from the ophalum by now, and races after it, managing to save part of the town from fire with some slapdash sygaldry and sympathy, and kills the draccus by collapsing the iron wheel from a church onto it in the same manner. However this also uses up the last of the ophalum. Afterward, he is knocked unconscious.

When Kvothe awakens, the townsfolk hold him in some awe, not understanding at all what has happened. They tell him that they have "disposed of the demon" in the proper manner, and Kvothe plays on their awe to try to gather further information about what happened at the wedding. Only one person in town, Nina, has anything useful to say, telling him that she saw the artifact the Mauthens dug up, and that it was a vase or urn with drawings on it. When she describes what she remembered, Kvothe realizes the drawings were of the Chandrian. She is terrified, and Kvothe gives her a bauble that he claims he has charmed to protect her. He then leaves to return to the University, never having found Denna since the night the Draccus died.

Upon his return, Ambrose steals Kvothe's lute out of its case while he isn't looking. While toying with it to tease Kvothe, he carelessly breaks it. Kvothe inadvertently calls the Name of the wind and buffets Ambrose with it, possibly breaking his arm. Kvothe then falls into a largely insensible state. Elodin eventually finds him and whispers something that helps him start to mend psychologically.

Ambrose and Kvothe are both brought on the horns (in front of the disciplinary council of Masters). Ambrose is found guilty of stealing and destroying Kvothe's lute and required to pay for its replacement. Kvothe is found guilty of malfeasance and sentenced to six lashes and expulsion, but his expulsion is repealed at Elodin's objection. Kvothe is also raised to Re'lar with Elodin as his sponsor on the fifth of Fallow.

It's during this time that Auri begins to show Kvothe around the Underthing.

Kvothe's lashing proceeds in much the same way as his first and he purchases a new lute and some other small things with Ambrose's money.

Auri eventually leads Kvothe to a passage that he discovers will allow him to sneak into the Archives. He then convinces Fela to show him around a bit in secret.

Fourth Term (Fall)Edit

The plum bob incident.


After being arrested and tried for his unintentional attack against Ambrose and calling the name of the wind, Kvothe's friends suggest that he skip the next term or be faced with an astronomically high tuition. Fortuitously, Count Threpe finds that the Maer Alveron, the second most powerful noble in Vintas after the King of Vintas, seeks a discrete musician to help him with an unnamed task. Kvothe goes to Vintas, and presents himself to the Maer Alveron after significant (and largely undescribed) troubles.

The Maer puts Kvothe in private rooms, both to keep an eye on him and to take time to judge him. It is during this time that Kvothe meets Bredon and they play tak together, while Bredon teaches Kvothe the finer points of Vintas court etiquette. During one of the meetings with the Maer, Kvothe is tasked to fetch the Maer's medicine from the court arcanist, Caudicus. The arcanist, not knowing that Kvothe is from the University, prepares the medicine in front of Kvothe, who deduces that the arcanist is poisoning the Maer with lead. Kvothe informs the Maer and helps the Maer recover from the poison, but Caudicus escapes.

Kvothe finds that Denna is in Severen  with her patron, Master Ash. They spend time together and the Maer reveals to Kvothe the reason he asked Count Threpe for help: the Maer needs a wife, and the only suitable one is Meluan Lackless, a beautiful noblewoman of a very old Vintas family. Kvothe, spending time with Denna, uses his experiences to write songs and letters to Lackless as if he was writing to Denna. The Maer is successful at beginning his courtship with Lackless, just when Denna presents the song she had been writing with Master Ash to Kvothe. The song is very much like the one Arliden wrote about Lanre, and trying to dissuade her from continuing the song, Kvothe and Denna have a heated argument.

The Maer, sending for Kvothe, asks him to lead a small band of mercenaries to ambush and destroy a group of bandits plaguing the Eld, an old forest in Vintas, who had been attacking tax collectors. Kvothe suspects that the Maer's real reason for sending him away was to put distance between Kvothe and the rest of the court. On the trip, Kvothe becomes friends with one of the mercenaries, Tempi, an Adem mercenary, and begins to learn the Adem's languages, customs, and fighting philosophy.

Kvothe and his team discover the enemy encampment during a fierce thunderstorm, made up of dozens of bandits. Marten, Tempi, and Kvothe elect for a fighting retreat when accidentally Dedan alerts the enemy camp to their presence. During the fight, Kvothe uses sympathy, using a dead bandit's body as a link, to kill several bandits. When their leader, an armored man, appears immune to Marten's arrows, Kvothe uses a nearby tree to establish a link with a tree in the center of the enemy camp and turn it into a lightning rod. With the majority of the bandits killed or escaped and the leader nowhere to be found, Kvothe and his team find the missing tax money and begin their trek back to Severen.

The Faen RealmEdit

On the way back from the enemy camp, his group come upon the Felurian, a fatally seductive fae creature. Her ability entrances Dedan, but he is stopped from chasing her by Hespe. Kvothe willingly follows her all the way into fae, leaving his companions behind. Catching her, Kvothe has his first sexual experience. Singing to her afterwards, he realizes the danger he is in and, in a burst of clarity, sings her name as well as the name of the wind. Intentionally using his newly-lost virginity and intentionally understating the Felurian's sexual prowess during a song (explaining it as a lack of relative comparative experience), they come to an agreement that if she frees him, he will write songs about her beauty and sexual prowess. They also agree that Kvothe will eventually have to return and be Felurian's lover until he dies.

Kvothe (with Felurian)

Kvothe with Felurian (as shown in the Pairs: Fae Deck)

She teaches Kvothe many things, including information about the Creation War, the moon, and the shaper who stole it. The Felurian desires to create Kvothe a cloak called a Shaed, which helps him hide better. She allows him to follow her into the fae and collect the darkness she must weave together, however, when it comes to the actual creation of the cloak, she sends Kvothe away. During this time Kvothe explores some of the areas of the fae surrounding Felurian's twilight glade. There he encounters the Cthaeh. His meeting with the Cthaeh is strange, and he learns that the leader of the bandits he recently fought was actually Cinder, of the Chandrian. He also learns that Denna often thinks of him while in distress, and the Cthaeh, chides Kvothe for his relationship with Felurian, whilst his real love interest is being harmed at the hands of her patron in the Four Corners.

After this meeting, Felurian suspects he met the creature and tries to console him. Shortly afterward he leaves the Fae and meets up again with his comrades who say he has been missing for three days.


On their return to Severen, Tempi is confronted by other Adem soldiers and is told that he faces potential disciplinary measures for having taught his Ketan to Kvothe, a barbarian.

Kvothe- Lute & Seicere

Kvothe at the end of The Wise Man's Fear

Kvothe elects to journey with Tempi to Haert, a city in Ademre. Upon arriving there, he learns that Shehyn, the leader of the Latantha school, has decided to test whether Kvothe is "of the Lethani."

Kvothe is assigned Vashet, an experienced Adem warrior, as an instructor. Kvothe learns that to fail in his test would mean, at the very least, mutilation by the Adem to ensure the secrecy of the Ketan. Eventually, Kvothe is tested by having to retrieve an item from a tree hung with swords; he calls the name of the wind to calm the blades and returns having cut his palm, showing stillness, silence, and a willingness to bleed for the school. He is given the name Maedre, and the ancient sword, Saicere, which Kvothe calls Caesura. Eventually, Kvothe is accepted as being capable of learning and is considered a student of the Latantha school, and is thus free to stay and study or to go. Having unfulfilled business with Maer Alveron, he elects to leave.

The UniversityEdit

Fifth Term (Winter)Edit

Kvothe returns to the University almost a year later, presenting his letter of credit from Alveron to the bursor's office, and makes a deal to split tuition fees exceeding 10 talents. Discovering he is owed royalties from his popular Arrowcatch schema, since renamed "Bloodless" Kvothe collects the accumulated sum. No longer in need of working hard for his money he takes a large number of classes, and fails some of them.

Sixth Term (Spring)Edit

Kvothe earns a tuition of eighteen talents and five.

Seventh Term (Summer)Edit

Kvothe earns a tuition of fifty talents.

The PresentEdit

In the frame story, Kvothe goes by the name Kote. He lives in the village of Newarre, apparently hiding his true identity and living as the innkeeper of the Waystone with his companion Bast.


Kvothe at the Waystone Inn (as shown in the NOTW Playing Card Game)

Bast spreads a rumor that Kote is Kvothe and ultimately draws the attention of Chronicler who begins writing the life story, for which he is allowed three days. Kote is currently on the second day of this three day life chronicle.

Other NamesEdit

Listed in the order of their appearance:

  • Kote
  • Reshi
  • Maedre
  • Dulator
  • Shadicar
  • Lightfinger
  • Six-String
  • Kvothe the Bloodless
  • Kvothe the Arcane
  • Kvothe Kingkiller


Magwyn names Kvothe 'Maedre' which may be an anagram for Ademre and have a larger significance than originally thought. This would explain the shock of Vashet during the naming.  This may also simply be a change Kvothe made as a place holder for the name given him.  Just as he avoids the names of the Chandrian in his storytelling, he may also be giving an obvious anagram as this placeholder.

It is possible that Kvothe is the nephew of Meluan Lackless. Meluan has an intense hatred towards the Edema Ruh because her sister ran off with one. In the Name of the Wind we learn that Kvothe's mother was a noble who ran away with his father. Further evidence to suggest this would be that Kvothe is struck by the resemblance of Meluan to someone he knows. However, Kvothe cannot put his finger on who he is so reminded of.


Poem of the Rings Kvothe has or wears at some point or another:

"On his first hand he wore rings of stone,
Iron, amber, wood and bone.
There were rings unseen on his second hand.
One was blood in a flowing band.
One of air all whisper thin,
And the ring of ice had a flaw within.
Full faintly shone the ring of flame,
and the final ring was without name."
―Poem about Kvothe[src]

The ring of amber is known to be a storytelling invention. The ring of wood may be either the ring Auri gives him, or the ring Meluan Lackless sends to him. The ring of bone is most likely Stapes' blood-debt ring. The rings on the second hand suggest that Kvothe learns and masters the names of blood, wind, ice (perhaps more likely water), and fire.  Furthermore, the ring without a name is suspected to be copper, a substance which cannot be named.

Notes and references Edit

  1. Ask the Author #4: How Do I Pronounce Kvothe’s name?, Patrick Rothfuss. Accessed 2015-02-23

Start a Discussion Discussions about Kvothe

  • speculation

    5 messages
    • Interesting about the "King" being being the door in the Archives.  Good thinking and speculation. I'm positive that Kvothe let the mercenar...
    • I agree with previous post. And Kvothe isn't lying about his story. They make hint, in WMF, that one can change ones name. I think he changed ...

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