Our tale begins in the humblest of ways. Kote, who is kvothe, feeds hungry inn goers; he hustles and bustles, but as we have come to know he is so much more. Kvothe the Arcane, Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Kingkiller. These titles were won out of accomplishments inside and out of the university, and have spread through story and song over the four corners. While we do not yet have the full story of Kvothe's Tragedy we have a piece of it and from that piece we can infer much. In the story Silence and the moon are major focuses. Through the lens of these two items I believe we can gain the true sense of the daunting task that lies before Kvothe and the foreboding that goes with it.
First, the moon. It is spoken of, and hashed out in many threads on the wiki. So, for time's sake I will assume a general knowledge of the tales of Iax and of the moon's relation the the Faen realm. With that knowledge assumed I will jump right in. Kvothe's tale is central to the "wise man's fears: the anger of a gentle man, a sea in storm and a night without moon." Kvothe experiences all of these things at one point or another in this story, but to truely grasp the nature of the tale we must not examine the past of Kvothe, but the present.
Our tale begins on a moon-less night with an attack by the Scrael (which we have yet to see again since his fight with the Scraelings) interestingly we note several details of the encounter. First, that Kvothe's nature has not changed, only his perception, or belief of it. This is exhibited by his imediate action in slaying the scraelings and the rescue (albeit accidentally) of Chronicler. He is greviously injured during this fight and requires medical minstrations after yet manages to burn the Scrael and carry Chronicler back to the Waystone Inn. Next, Kvothe encounters the mercenaries, in a second trial; this one engineered by Bast. Kvothe is defeated by the two briggands, but soothes Bast by the knowledge that he was injured during the fight with the Scrael. Bast seems to believe him and the story bids us forget this encounter until the end of TWMF. After that we are confronted with yet another failure in Kvothe's inability to prevent one of the villagers from taking the King's Coin. This lulls the reader into the idea that Kvothe is failing at everything and he embodies his alter ego "Kote"; disaster. Numerous other examples of Kvothe's failures are available in the present of the story: His implied loss of Denna, the apparent (yet contradicted) inability to fight, and most notably his loss of, or inability to use sympathy. I purport that these are not what now makes up our present Kvothe, but we'll get to that a little bit later.
The endings of both novels finish with the same lines. "The Waystone was his, just as the third silence was his. This was appropriate, as it was the greatest silence of the three, wrapping the others inside itself. It was deep and wide as autumn’s ending. It was heavy as a great river-smooth stone. It was the patient, cut-flower sound of a man who is waiting to die." These lines are of the most paramount importance in the entire chronicle. They deliver the message of what is to come in book three, but do not reveal its ending. The ending of book three will revolve around the silence that is prevelent in both NOTW and TWMF. There is one striking difference between the two novels though. In the first novel, silence does not incorporate itself into the story, not when Kvothe's troupe is killed, not in the forest, not in Tarbean, not at the University; nowhere in the first day of the tale is silence mentioned outside of Kvothe's present time. In the course of this telling we also note that Kvothe's mood improves drastically between the opening of the book and the ending of book one. Kvothe begins and ends NOTW brooding, and melencholy yet for different reasons. In the beginning he despairs from a life lost and sins committed. In the finale of NOTW Kvothe struggles with whether the pain of remembering is worth regaining his old life and whether or not he is able. In the second book, TWMF Kvothe ends it with the same words. "The Waystone was his, just as the third silence was his. This was appropriate, as it was the greatest silence of the three, wrapping the others inside itself. It was deep and wide as autumn’s ending. It was heavy as a great river-smooth stone. It was the patient, cut-flower sound of a man who is waiting to die." and yet he moves with the practiced grace of a dancer, with lithe and slow movements both forward and backward in time taking one single perfect step. Kvothe becomes much like Sheyhen at the end of TWMF and appears to be set on the path of remembering and attempting to regain his old life despite the pain it may cause, and the hurt he has endured because it is something he needs; not something he wants.
The lines that end both nights of the tale that we are as yet given hint at several things. If we examine the text as seperate elements we can relate it to different parts of the tale we have experienced. "It was deep and wide as autumn's ending" the last fleeting moments of warmth and life are leaving and the cold dead of winter is approaching signaling the decline of favor, and the loss of fruitfulness. Next we are given the line "It was heavy as a great river-smooth stone" referring not only to the depth of the silence itself, but to the secret Kvothe hides. The secret he must tell and the secret that has changed his name and taken his power. As Teccam said, it was not secrets of the mouth, but secrets of the heart that carry the greatest burden and drive men to madness. This secret is of His search and of Denna. Finally, "it was the patient, cut-flower sound of a man who is waiting to die" which is uite possibly the most important line in the entire novel; both novels. Simply put, it is referenced in the past tense. Kvothe is wrong on numerous occasions in the KKC, and he is beaten bloody for it, for his youth getting in the way of calm clear thinking and rash desicions. It leads us to believe that Kvothe is wrong when he tells us that this is a tragedy. Kvothe cannot finish his story without either dying or reclaiming his power, and much like Taborlin the Great, when all the chips are down and all hope seems lost, with the world at its most bleak; only then does the hero emerge. Only then does the hero slay the demon, overcome the impossible; only then does Kote become Kvothe again.
Finally onto the theory. Kvothe's live spans many years throughout the tale, and much of it revolves around sevens and threes. Kvothe is a traditionalist after all. The theory is that Kvothe has spent roughly seven years between the murder of his troupe and the tale in KKC. If this is true what it implies is that we are in the midst of the Climax of the story not in the retelling, but more grandly in the small glimpses of the present that we are given. That this the seventh year after the loss of his troupe, and the beginning of his journey Kvothe has been given disaster much like Kilven expects. "Chan Vaen edan Kote" Every seven years expect disaster. With a life like Kvothe has had it is natural that he expect disaster proportionate to his grandiose lifestyle; and may or may not be a young taborlin as he is fancied and emerge from the ashes again Kvothe not only in name, but in power and presence.
Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think.
Most of it ready like a school book analysis, but overall I can agree with most things, though nothing seems particularly novel. Your conclusion seems halfway plausible to me. I think you are on to something. It is mentioned somewhere that "the thing" lies not even 2 years in the past (i believe chronicler mentions this when pressing kote for his story). Kvothe spent 3 years in Tarbean and a summer in the woods after his troup is killed. This time alone amounts to roughly over 5 years. Coming from that, I believe kvoth spent longer than 2 at the university + at various side stories. Thus it seems we are beyond 7 years already. This said, i still believe that there is a great weight of import in the various tales and conversations being had, however this seems not the core of that particular one. However there is an alternative. Kote began 7 years after his troup was killed. It follows, that the tragedy were to happen not too long after the chronicles second day. ~1/4 year in the woods, 3 years tarbean, some time at the university (~2-3 years so far?). This means that kvothe has no more than a year until disaster... well assuming this is what it is... :)
I understand your perspective, but Kvothe has to take admissions at the beginning of every term for the university. I believe it is referenced somewhere else on this site and in interviews with rothfuss that a term takes roughly two months and that spans run slightly longer than a week as well. Both of these are things to take into account in my assessment as well as when Kvothe is taking his first admissions exam he says it has taken him *nearly* three years to get to the university. Implying it took slightly less time.