I was inspired to write this post because it’s about the first Kingkiller Chronicles theory I ever came up with. It was the gateway thought that led to my obsessive re-reading. It is something that as I have become more of a KKC lore nerd, seems so much like obvious fact that I felt it was redundant to make a post about it.
That is: Master Lorren is an Amyr.
However, since (while it is prevalent) it is definitely not generally accepted as fact (like the Netalia Lackless theory is), and I have never seen all the pieces of evidence for it compiled in one place, I couldn’t resist making this post any longer. Practically all of the things I point out below are things that someone else on the internet has also noticed at least once and posted about, but since I also arrived at these realizations (minus two, credited below) on my own in parallel, I haven’t tried to dig up who else might have also said it. So, here we go:
The Amyr would want to control the Archives because of their information.
KKC is a story about stories. It is quite well established that at least one thing the Chandrian do is hunt down and eradicate information about themselves. In WMF its established that the Amyr do the same thing with information about themselves (and possibly about the Chandrian too- unclear.) In other words, these two roughly opposed factions both have ambitions to control information.
The Archives are famous as the biggest repository of collected knowledge in the Four Corners. If the Amyr have any influence left at all, why wouldn’t they have done everything possible to make sure one of their own was in control of this place? And they’ve done a good job too, since Kvothe bemoans that the Archives seem to have been thoroughly scrubbed of useful information on the Chandrian and the Amyr.
The Archives contain the four-plate door.
While I was working on this post, a very well-researched theory was posted about the importance of the four plate door and the archives. While I don’t necessarily agree with all the conclusions there, Kit-Carson makes many excellent points about why the four plate door and the archives are certainly of great significance to the meta story.
I’ll add one more. (It’s a picture. Are you shocked?) Below is a thumbnail of proposed artwork from Don Dos Santos for NOTW 10’th edition. Obviously this one didn’t make it in. But this REALLY drives home how big and important the Archives is, even within the University. In NOTW Chapter 36 when Kvothe says he saw the archives “rising like some great greystone over the trees to the west,” he really means it.
In fact, he compares the building to a greystone again later in the same chapter.
All of the above, plus the existence of the Underthing support the idea that the Archives -or at the very least the four plate door- predate the rest of the University, quite possibly going all the way back to the Creation War. If the door is in any way related to Lanre, Iax, Haliax, or the Creation War, then of course the Amyr would see it as their duty to stand vigil over it. One more reason to make sure their own are in charge of the place where it resides.
The Circumstances of Kvothe’s bans- Both of them
It’s been quite well noted that Master Lorren noticed Kvothe’s interest in researching the Amyr and the Chandrian, tried to warn him off of it, and then banned him indefinitely from the Archives at the first opportunity. Many people counter this as Amyr evidence by saying Lorren could just dislike him because he is immature and irresponsible, and because he is honestly protective of the flammable contents of the Archives. His care for his book is emphasized by both he and Sim’s dialog in NOTW Chapter 37. So I’m sure his fury about the open flame isn’t feigned. But why isn’t it both? Amyr or no, you’d have to be a scholar to become Master Archivist, and that’s going to be a lot easier when you have a true love of books, history, learning, etc.
Plus, what better embodiment of an Amyr is there than one who must destroy the thing he loves most: written knowledge- for the greater good? I admit, it’s a bit delicious to imagine that perhaps a fraction of the fury in Lorren’s eyes when he saw that lit candle was fueled by self-recrimination for documents he may have burned himself.
Then there is the second time he bans Kvothe from the Archives in Chapter 41 of WMF. Again, I am sure it is against the rules to be talking that loudly. But it’s extremely convenient that the only other time Lorren swoops down and bans Kvothe after the first incident, Kvothe has just discovered an overlooked book written by an Amyr. Lorren is sure to collect it from him on Kvothe’s way out the door. Certainly not because he was about to review it and make sure any useful information about the Amyr was erased before it went back on the shelves! One really must wonder what Kvothe would have found if he went looking for the journal after his ban was over.
The First Kickstarter Card
This image of Lorren is from the original NOTW playing card Kickstarter.
It was turned into a poster and bookplate later. But it started as art for a gaff card. And the gaff card has the following text at the top of the image:
“For him that stealeth a Book from this Library, let it change to a Serpent in his hand and rend him. Let him be struck with Palsy, and all his Members blasted. Let him languish in Pain, crying aloud for Mercy and let there be no surcease to his Agony till he sink to Dissolution. Let Book-worms gnaw his Entrails in token of the Worm that dieth not, and when at last he goeth to his final Punishment let the Flames of Hell consume him for ever and aye.” – Benedictine Book Curse
Okay, Lorren’s protectiveness of his books affirmed yet again. But here’s another interesting fact: I was at the live stream where Pat was working on this card art with the artist Shane Tyree, and Pat said Lorren should look like a man who would “burn down the world.”
Lorren’s Map and the Acquisitions Gillers
Likewise, a great many people have noticed Viari, the rugged armed giller from NOTW Chapter 61. According to Sim, this different breed of Giller brings back books from all over the world. Aenarion21 made a fantastic observation about the “scars that ran over his knuckles and up his arms.” They could be the “modern day” equivalent of Ciridae tattoos.
In WMF Chapter 14, Kvothe describes the acquisitions office thusly: “one entire wall of the office was nothing but a huge map with cities and roads marked in such detail that it looked like a snarled loom. The map was covered in a layer of clear alchemical lacquer, and there were notes written at various points in red grease pencil, detailing rumors of desirable books and the last known positions of the various acquisition teams.”
Well, one certainly has to assume someone in the Amyr is tracking rumors of lore they need to erase, and sending teams of armed people out to investigate and acquire it. Sure Lorren could just be doing something very similar…
He seems to associate the Chandrian and the Amyr.
This was a great point Vardil brought up in this discussion of Lorren that I had missed. In general, people in the KKC world do not connect the Chandrian and the Amyr. We the reader take it a little for granted because by the time Lorren asks “You have an interest in the Chandrian and the Amyr?” we have heard both Skarpi’s story and heard Haliax reference them as a threat. But the truth is we have yet to encounter any other characters who think the two are related. There’s certainly no reasonable way Lorren would know if someone else is wiping the knowledge out from under him at the Archives. And Lorren follows up with the question: “Is this in regard to an assignment from one of your instructors?” His first assumption is that someone educated saw some connection between (supposedly) purely fictitious boogeymen, and a historical order of knights. He doesn’t say assignments, he says assignment. I think this makes it far less likely that Lorren is only putting them together in the same sentence because Kvothe was researching both.
So in summary, yes every one of these things could be explained in some other way, but taken together it is just far too many coincidences.
Some have said this theory is questionable because of a Q&A where Pat said:. “there are a lot of songs in the archives that have been collected and aren’t attributed to anyone. Lorren was going to ask Kvothe for his assistance catalouging these before Kvothe had his hissy-fit at the end of Chapter 36.”
Again, this is only contradictory if we assume this means Lorren only cares about his Amyr duties and doesn’t also care about the archives and learning.
If anything, this could also be construed as evidence for the Amyr theory. The last thing Lorren does after the “Chandrian and the Amyr” conversation is to cross out Kvothe’s entries in the request ledger. So how in character does it really seem for Lorren to be so concerned about the reputation of someone that Pat told us he already wrote off as too childish to be worth getting help from that Lorren pauses his work to come give him some fatherly advice and even edit the ledger for him just to spare him the chance someone sees it and thinks Kvothe is… childish? I’d argue not very. On the other hand, Amyr Lorren definitely would not want anyone seeing Kvothe’s entries and getting ideas.
The super-helpful Vardil also pointed me at a video where Pat said in an earlier draft of the book that Kvothe and Lorren were friends. Personally I don’t put a lot of weight on what previous versions of the story looked like as evidence for what it is now. (Just my personal preference.) And Lorren is a perfect example of why: maybe Lorren wasn’t always an Amyr in Pat’s mind. Maybe he was, but the original vision was that they were close friends, and as a result the reader saw an entirely different set of hints than the one we see now about him being Amyr. The point is, when Pat talks about a previous draft, we don’t know what else also was or was not present in that previous draft. But of course others feel differently. 🙂