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Master Ash

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"He wouldn't tell me his real name for more than a span. Even now I don't know if the name he's given me is real."

Master Ash is the pseudonym that Kvothe creates to refer to the mysterious patron of Denna.  

Description Edit

Almost nothing is actually known about Master Ash, which Denna claims is how he prefers to conduct his affairs. However, Denna does reveal he is an accomplished dancer and has the appearance of a wealthy gentleman. He is described as being extremely secretive, to the point of outright paranoia and likely carries a cane.

In The Chronicle Edit

Denna meets Master Ash in the Eolian while awaiting Kvothe for lunch, a date he misses due to a fire in the University's FisheryDeoch physically describes the character that Denna eventually leaves this rendezvous with as a white haired gentleman. Whether this character is actually Denna's future patron is unconfirmed, however the next time she and Kvothe meet it is implied so.

Kvothe is at first happy for Denna, but grows increasingly suspicious of her patron throughout the chronicle. This begins to occur when Kvothe meets Denna in Trebon, where she is the sole survivor of a massacre possibly executed by the Chandrian. Afterward, Denna is unable to find her patron, leading Kvothe to assist her in searching for him near the crime scene. During this encounter, Denna is subjected to a taste of Denner resin, causing her to drop her guard and admit that her patron had struck her unconscious and that when she awoke he was no where to be found. This greatly dismays Kvothe, though he keeps much of his feelings to himself in fear of startling Denna away from him.

In The Wise Man's Fear, it is revealed Denna has lost contact with her patron for approximately a month after the occurrences in Trebon.  Eventually however, Denna disappears, possibly to Yll from which she writes Kvothe letters.  Whether she travels in the company of her patron or not is of some speculation.  However, when Kvothe meets up with Denna again in Severen, she reveals she has been given an official writ of patronage and that she is currently working with Master Ash.  It is suggested that Denna is still suffering physical abuse at the hands of her patron as she hastily makes up excuses as to why she has bruising across her face. Kvothe and Denna eventually have a falling out while in Severen over a song she writes about Lanre. This song apparently contradicts the account of Skarpi, which Kvothe takes much displeasure in. Denna claims to have written the song based on something she read while searching through genealogies for her patron, but many fans believe the information and subsequent song were actually solicited by Master Ash.

When Kvothe meets the Cthaeh while in Fae, it confirms the readers suspicions that Denna is being victimized by her patron.  In this scene, the Cthaeh claims Master Ash beats Denna with the recent addition of a cane.

Speculation Edit

Much speculation has been generated in regards to the true identity of Master Ash.  Due to a suggestion made by Denna in Severen, Kvothe may or may not have already met the man under a different alias.  Fans of the series theorize the below people most prominently as legitimate possibilities.


Many events in the Chronicle point to the theory that Master Ash is Cinder.

  • After the Fishery fire, Kvothe arrives at the Eolian to find that Denna has left with a white-haired man. This matches Cinder's description, although no mention is made of his other distinguishing features. 
  • Cinder often turns out to be in the same geographical areas as Denna: Trebon, Vintas, and arguably the areas around Tarbean
  • Denna writes a version of the story of Myr Tariniel's betrayal, however, in this rendition Lanre is a misunderstood hero. It has been suggested Cinder may have motivation to conceal and remake history or even expose a falsification of historical events.
  • Cinder is considered extraordinarily cruel. Many fans compare this to the Cthaeh's description of Denna's harsh treatment at the hands of her patron.
  • Kvothe's knack at guessing true names is another clue. His first attempts at giving the man a nickname include Feran, Forue, and Fordale. Which are arguably similar to Cinder's true name Ferula or Ferule. He eventually decides on Master Ash and although he intends the name to refer to the tree, the alternate meaning relates to Cinder.
  • In English, Ferule is 'a ruler-shaped instrument, generally used to slap naughty children on the hand', from the word Ferula, from Latin, which would mean 'cane'. The Cthaeh states that Denna's patron beats her and that he started beating her with his 'walking stick'.
  • Master Ash sets up the performance from Denna at the Mauthen Farm where it is later discovered a Chandrian relic was found.
  • When speaking of her patron, Denna remarks that he is light on his feet. Cinder is also described as having very fluid movements.

Bredon Edit

Nearly as many events in the Chronicle point to the theory that Master Ash is Bredon.

  • Description of bearing and physical attributes seem to match.
  • Bredon's colour's are mentioned as being 'ash grey and dark charcoal'.
  • When Kvothe first meets Bredon he claims to enjoy traveling and to have recently taken up dancing. 
  • While the Maer's guest, Kvothe isn't able to find Denna for a few days which corresponds with Bredon's disappearance to "visit relatives." Denna admits she was with her patron when she returns.
  • Bredon enjoys playing games, which could correspond with the psychological torture that Denna puts up with.
  • Master Ash's random disappearances could be due to Bredon needing to return home.
  • Master Ash's insistence on privacy and secrecy could be due to Bredon being a recognizable figure.
  • Just as Master Ash, Bredon also is surrounded in mystery to Kvothe, not saying who he is and concealing his identity.
  • Gossip letters from another noble states that Bredon does pagan rituals on the woods, which could somehow be connected to the incident on Trebon.
  • When Kvothe first meets Bredon, he remarks on him bearing himself in a manner which shows his wealth. In the same way, Denna comments on Master Ash having all the signs of being a wealthy patron.
  • Denna comments that Kvothe might have already met her patron while staying in the palace.
  • Bredon is known to always carry a walking stick, something the Cthaeh specifically mentions Denna's patron having, saying her patron beat her with one.

Erlus Edit

Another theory could point to the Master Ash being Erlus

  • There are various clues which could point to Erlus being Cinder (more on Erlus page).
  • In The Wise Man's Fear, Puppet has a doll of a Tehlin priest menace the doll of a young peasant girl. The scene could easily be interpreted as Denna and Master Ash, and if that were the case, then Erlus is the only character who could easily fit into this role.

Character TrinityEdit

Many fans actually believe Master Ash has many aliases and is actually multiple characters.

  • Given that there is much evidence that Bredon is Master Ash and that Cinder is Master Ash, it could be that all 3 are one and the same.
  • Bredon has white hair, and his eyes are described as dark and owlish; similarly, Cinder has white hair and black eyes. While Cinder does not resemble Bredon in other aspects, it is possible that since Cinder is likely of Fae, he uses glamourie to change his appearance.
  • Bredon meets Kvothe in Severen, at around the same time that Denna is in the area. Shortly before Kvothe leaves to hunt bandits in the Eld, Bredon is mentioned to be away from his estate. The bandits Kvothe fights are later revealed to have been led by Cinder.
  • Very little of Bredon's background is known, leaving ample room for him to be either Ash or Cinder in secret.

Altough there are evidence to back up this idea, there is also lots of evidence against it, as the Cthaeh implies that Kvothe met Cinder two times, and if Bredon was Cinder he would have met Cinder many more times. Also, Kvothe notices something different when he sees Cinder for the second time, recognizing him somehow, but doesn't ever recognize anything similar on Bredon.

Amyr Edit

The Amyr have already been evidenced to be willing to do terrible things for the greater good.

  • Master Ash may be using Denna's writing and singing of the Lanre song as a sort of bait to draw the Chandrian to the Amyr.
  • The Cthaeh is revealed to always tell the truth, but that it will do so in a way so as to cause the worst possible outcomes. Because of this, it is speculated that when the Cthaeh tells Kvothe that Master Ash beats Denna, the Cthaeh is actually referring to Master Ash training Denna to fight.

One of Aleph's Angels Edit

  • In Chapter 6 of The Name of the Wind, we learn that one of the rumors surrounding Kvothe suggests that he tricked a demon and killed an angel in pursuit of what he desired. Thinking on the story, Chronicler reflects that Kvothe's face looks like that of someone who has killed an angel. Chronicler believes the stories surrounding the Namer! We know that Kvothe desires Denna, but we do not know who he tricked or who he killed. One can infer, however, that Kvothe would most likely wish to kill Denna's patron, given the things that the patron has done to Denna. This makes it plausible that the patron is an angel.
  • The mythology of the Kingkiller Chronicles supports this idea.
    • In Chapter 23 of The Name of the Wind, Trapis tells the story of Tehlu, Encanis, and the Burning Wheel. In that story, Tehlu becomes incarnate and visits judgment upon wicked men, women, and demons. As part of that judgment, Tehlu punishes those who have engaged in evil or promiscuous behavior by striking them with a forge hammer. Tehlu's blows serve to purify the repentant and to destroy the evil, according to the story. Tehlu beat both the unrepentant and the repentant, but he mercifully embraced those who genuinely desired to pursue a new path.
      • Denna clearly has decided to pursue a new path, as evidenced by her helping the girl in Vintas.
      • However, Denna also engages in behavior that one with Tehlin religious sensibilities would describe as sinful. Her patron could be beating her into repentance.
      • Denna states in The Wise Man's Fear that Kvothe is as concerned about her male suitors as her patron is. If Denna's patron is an angel, he would be very interested in her dealings with men and would view Denna's premarital relations as damning, a departure from the true way. He could be striking Denna with his stick in order to punish her for these infractions and so cleanse her of her transgressions.
      • The Cthaeh tells Kvothe that Denna's patron beats her in Chapter 104 of The Wise Man's Fear. If the Cthaeh seeks to cause ultimate destruction, pitting Kvothe against an angel or even Tehlu himself would seem to be a good way to go about achieving such destruction!
      • Puppet uses a Tehlin priest puppet to beat a female puppet in Chapter 40 of The Wise Man's Fear. Is this clever foreshadowing of a connection between Master Ash and the Tehlin religion?
    • At the end of Trapis' story, Tehlu jumps into an incredibly hot fire to kill Encanis. The heat of the fire kills Tehlu. Prior to his death, Tehlu tells Encanis, "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 in the proper ways, then I will come again to judge and punish." Both Tehlu and Encanis burned to ash in the pit of Atur. That is why the Tehlin priests wear robes of ashen grey.
      • Master Ash's name hints at a possible connection to the Tehlin religion, the robes of ashen grey, and to Tehlu in particular.
    • In Chapter 28 of The Name of the Wind, Skarpi describes the formation of Aleph's angels, of whom Tehlu is chief. The angels are a group distinct from the Amyr. Their desire is for justice above all else. Unlike the Amyr, they do not openly seek revenge for what was done to Myr Tariniel and the other cities of the Ruach. They have great power, but it is unclear what that power may be.
      • Given Skarpi's account and the details of Trapis' story, it is possible that Aleph's angels, and Tehlu especially, may see the events surrounding the destruction of Myr Tariniel in a very different light than the leader of the Amyr, Selitos. The angels theoretically could see the destruction of the cities as a well deserved punishment visited upon the Ruach. In this light, Lanre might be seen to have helped to purify an evil and indulgent people. Indeed, from the angels' perspective, Lanre would have helped to bring about justice. And yet, Lanre (or Haliax or Encanis) would still be deserving of punishment for the part that he played in that great evil.
      • Master Ash, if he be an angel or Tehlu himself, could have commissioned the Song of Seven Sorrows in order to tell the story of Lanre's justice, a deserved punishment wrought upon a sinful people.
  • If Master Ash is an angel, it would make sense that he is always where the Chandrian are, as the angels would always be pursuing the Seven. We know that Master Ash was in Trebon with Denna when the Chandrian attacked. Furthermore, we know that Denna's patron was in Vintas around the time that Kvothe's group attacked the Bandits and Cinder. Angel-like fire in the form of lightning came down upon the large oak tree to which Kvothe had attached Sympathetic Bindings. Could the lightning have been the help of Master Ash?
  • If Master Ash is one of Aleph's Angels, it would rule out the possibility of Master Ash being Cinder or Erlus (as the angels in their ideal form would have nothing to do with such corruption). However, it certainly does not rule out the possibility that Master Ash is also Bredon, or a Tehlin priest, or both.

References Edit

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