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Are the birds telling us Denna is a Princess?

So until very recently I haven’t really been big on the idea that Denna is a princess, but very recently,  as I did what I love to do -and obsessed over KKC artwork- something came to my attention that I can’t ignore.

I don’t necessarily think that every object in KKC has a symbolic motif going on, but I think it’s pretty obvious, especially with the tenth anniversary edition, that birds do.  We’ve got Kvothe the cardinal, Bredon the owl (just count how many times he is compared to one), sipquicks (hummingbirds) for the Calenthis, and the mysterious hawk I’m so fond of.

A bird was added for Denna in the most recent (the unshipped) playing card kickstarter. It is in both the current Denna and young Denna cards.


If you do some research, this is pretty clearly a red-winged blackbird.


(Yeah yeah, and I know that in reality this is only the coloring for the males, but I assume Pat decided to take a little license there because a lot of female bird colorations are boring.)

What I find interesting about this choice is that this is a black bird (which makes me think of a black sheep) with a patch of red and gold on its wings. This coloration is also emphasized in the Denna Queen of Spades card above, where we see her in selas flowers and daisies- red and yellow.

This leads me to wonder if she is a survivor from some disowned / overthrown branch of the Calenthis. I don’t believe we know anything about how King Roderic came to power or how long he has been there (do we)? The Maer calls Roderic a bastard in WMF Chapter 58. Perhaps he meant it literally? Denna clearly has some ambition that is driving her to go through what she does. If maybe, just maybe, she was the only survivor of an otherwise overthrown branch of Calenthis, she would likely want revenge on the king who killed them.

I could easily see a situation where if this is the case, it leads to Kvothe becoming embroiled and killing the King. (Or heck, maybe even taking the fall for it when in fact Denna did it.)

(Cross-posted as a comment on the KKC subreddit)

  • J   /   April 25, 2018., 8:46 amReply

    I think the case for denna being a lackless (Kvothe's cousin) is a really, really strong one: Since Kvothe is a prince (due to the lackless box requiring the blood of the prince and the hidden details that show kvothe's mom is netalia lackless), it makes sense that Denna is a princess of sorts.

    • aethel   /   April 25, 2018., 9:18 amReply

      I wish we knew more about Yll! I have always thought similarly about her ring as is expressed in the post you linked. They do make some darn good points.

      • j   /   April 25, 2018., 9:31 amReply

        so you think it's a coincidence that denna is described in every way nearly the exact same as meluan? Patrick is not that silly. He uses words intentionally. I think it's guaranteed that denna is of the lackless family line.

        • aethel   /   April 25, 2018., 9:34 amReply

          I meant they made some darn good points about the similarities too. I definitely agree that Pat is very specific with his words.