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Analysis of Signs Including Pairs Calamities

So, in my last post I inventoried the Chandrian’s signs as mentioned in the books.

Now let’s look at the Calamities cards from Pairs.  Patrick Rothfuss said this about them in his blog:

Early on in the kickstarter, people asked if the seven card in the main deck would be the Chandrian. It’s a sensible question. Chaen does mean seven after all….
That said, the answer is a resounding “no.” These are decks of cards *from* the four corners. A deck of cards like that simply wouldn’t exist. If it ever did exist, it would have been burnt down to the waterline long, long ago.
But this suggestion gave me an idea. So I had many secret talks with Shane and James. The end result is the Calamities.

While he doesn’t explicitly say so, it seems like this idea was for each Calamity card to represent a Chandrian in a way subtle/diluted enough that the deck wouldn’t be wiped from existence. Way too many of these cards match spot-on to the well-evidenced signs. (I have also been told that he did explicitly say at Gen Con that these cards were the signs.)
So let’s have a look:

So let’s do a little consolidation on the grid from the last post, and then factor these 7 calamities in as “signs”

Let’s also agree that maybe “pale” by itself isn’t very distinguishing, because this is clearly something more than one of them have in common. (I mean I know some people after seeing the 10’th edition illustration are crying that Cinder is a woman, but I’m not going there!) So I’m not going to try to keep all the “pale” items together.

Then let’s do the following:

  • Combine and label everything that reliable accounts tell us is Cinder
  • Do the same for reliable accounts of Haliax.
  • Assume the unreliable “sun goes dark”  could be combined with “The Dark” concept of the pairs card to go under Haliax
  • Rename all the rot and rust in Usnea’s line to Decay, and match the “Collapse” card to it.
  • “Fire” card with the blue fire in the window goes with blue fire sign.
  • Combine poor health in people and plants, blight, and “Sickness” into one line.
  • Combine the pale woman who comes & goes silently with Grey Dalcenti who never speaks
  • Combine the “Storm” card with the storms sign
  • It’s a bit of a stretch, but let’s put “Strife” together with the madness sign for now. Certainly we can see some connection between a man so angry at his wife that he runs out into the street barefoot yelling at her while their child watches, and madness.


Lastly, I’m going to take the unreliable rainbows umm.. “sign”… and  several of the items from the Trebon pot that don’t match any other signs and put them in their own category: Things That May Not Be Signs.  For example, we know the Moon is associated with Iax, but that doesn’t make it a sign. So it’s reasonable to assume many of the pot’s symbols are about their story, but not always their signs. I’m putting the “Death” card here too, because while it could certainly represent a Chandrian, it’s not exactly a “sign”

That gives us for signs and the 7:

And then this assortment of Things That May Not Be Signs Below

Now certainly some of these could match up with other things (like the dead tree is could be either plant death or Cinder’s bare tree, the broken sword could be rust, etc…), but there is a case to be made in multiple directions, so I am not assuming something that only appears on the pot and nowhere else is a sign. Also, I have a strong reason to think the “bit by dog” is its own idea that doesn’t go with animal madness. I’ll elaborate on that in a post that builds on this. (I also couldn’t help thinking that Felurian is a naked pale woman who can drive people mad, but I’m pretty sure she’s not a Chandrian…)

Almost there! In the next post I’ll bring up a few more pieces of evidence that should hopefully click everything into place.

  • Jenson Heaton   /   January 4, 2024., 12:59 amReply

    Wow. You are so thorough. I've been trying to find some answers on this because in one of the ttrpgs I run, one of my player's backstory is clearly heavily inspired by Rothfuss' work. This includes a group that's clearly inspired by the Chandrian. Therefore, I've been trying to figure this out to lean into that and make people with similar "abilities". I can't express how helpful I have found this sight so thank you.